About OOIThe Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) will lay the foundation for future ocean science observations and enable powerful new research capabilities by transitioning the oceanographic community from expedition-based data gathering to persistent, controllable observations using a suite of interconnected sensors. The OOI's networked sensor grid will collect ocean and seafloor data at high sampling rates over years to decades. Researchers will make simultaneous, interdisciplinary measurements to investigate a spectrum of phenomena including episodic, short-lived events (tectonic, volcanic, biological, and meteorological), and more subtle, longer-term changes and emergent phenomena in ocean systems (circulation patterns, climate change, ocean acidity, and ecosystem trends).
The OOI is a multi-scale observatory, comprising three scales of marine observations (coastal, regional and global) that are integrated by an overarching cyberinfrastructure. The coastal component of the OOI will expand existing coastal observing assets, creating focused, configurable observing arrays. Regional cabled observing platforms will ‘wire’ a tectonic plate in the Northeast Pacific Ocean with a high speed optical and power grid. The global component will address planetary-scale problems via moored open-ocean buoys linked to shore via satellite. When fully developed, the OOI cyberinfrastructure will allow scientists and citizens to view phenomena irrespective of the observations' sources (e.g., coastal, global, regional, ships, satellites, IOOS).
Through a unifying cyberinfrastructure, researchers will have the ability to respond to events detected by the network and, from their desktop computer, adapt the sampling strategies of equipment and sensors deployed on the infrastructure. Distributed research groups can form virtual collaborations to collectively analyze and respond to ocean events.
OOI will provide the technological and organizational infrastructures to create radically new opportunities in ocean observing, ocean prediction, and scientific collaboration. The OOI's introduction of dedicated power and bandwidth to remote parts of the ocean will provide the ocean science community with unprecedented access to detailed data on multiple spatial and temporal scales, complementing fixed platforms with a variety of mobile assets. By applying the best technologies for ocean science, ocean data systems, and community collaboration, OOI will enable new ways to ask fundamental questions, make existing science more effective, and change expectations about what can be and should be achieved.
As the OOI develops and deploys transformative tools necessary to pursue our national research priorities it must also enable the effective translation of results into readily understandable information usable by decision-makers, resource managers, educators, and potential workforce participants. The education goals and the key science questions that frame the OOI infrastructure are tightly coupled: the science questions provide the interdisciplinary context for effective marine education that, in turn, develops the intellectual capital needed to build research capacity and a literate and engaged public. Building this capacity and engaging the public will require sustained educational efforts targeted at multiple audience levels.