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UNH Joins Major NOAA Project to Map the Ocean

Testing an ASV in Portsmouth Harbor from the UNH/CCOM research vessel Gulf Surveyor. Credit: CCOM.

The University of New Hampshire will join a new consortium of research institutions to explore three billion acres of U.S. ocean. The research at UNH will focus primarily on ocean mapping and data visualization.

“What I think people don’t realize is how little of the ocean is known,” said Larry Mayer, principal investigator for UNH on the project. “Only about 6-10 percent of the ocean has ever been mapped. So that leaves 90% that is totally unknown.”


One of the main objectives of the new group, known as the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute, is to strengthen the "Blue Economy” and develop sustainable ways to utilize ocean resources.


The consortium is supported by a 5-year, $94 million award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. Mayer says UNH will use some of its funding to make new hires and purchase equipment.


UNH is one of five institutions in the consortium, which is led by the University of Rhode Island. It also includes the University of Southern Mississippi, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the nonprofit Ocean Exploration Trust.

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