NOAA and Aquarium of the Pacific to host first-ever National Forum to shape a U.S. national ocean exploration program

July 18, 2013

'Ocean Exploration 2020: A National Forum,' will bring together more than 100 ocean explorers and representatives from federal agencies, state governments, non-governmental organizations, universities, ocean institutions and leading industries to shape a U.S. national ocean exploration program. The Forum, to be held at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, July 19-21, will gather experts with the aim of developing a national program that will be fully implemented by 2020.

"The expertise and imagination that will come together at the Forum is exciting," said Robert Detrick, Ph.D., assistant administrator for NOAA Research, and a Forum speaker. "Partnerships will be the key to developing and following-through on a national ocean exploration program that truly makes a difference. Partnerships leverage the funding, equipment, and expertise required to significantly advance the nation's ocean-related scientific, economic, environmental and educational goals."

Forum participants include ocean explorers and ocean resource managers as well as educators, project managers, technologists, information managers and entrepreneurs who will share their ideas for taking the nation's ocean exploration program where it should be in 2020.

"It is an honor that we are co-hosting the Forum that will define the future of ocean exploration and lead to the nation's national ocean exploration program," said Jerry Schubel, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific.

The first two days of the Forum are by invitation and will involve presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions covering themes such as exploration priorities, technology, platforms, data and information management and sharing, citizen science and exploration, ocean exploration, and public engagement.

The final day, Sunday, July 21, is Explorers Day and is open to the public. A number of explorers from the Forum will remain to meet with the public to explain their ocean exploration work and to answer questions about ocean exploration robots and other equipment on display. This event is part of the Aquarium of the Pacific's ongoing Ocean Exploration program and Wonders of the Deep exhibit, which launched May 24, 2013.

Explorers Day will also feature demonstrations, workshops, and live interactive engagements with explorers at sea on 'America's ship for ocean exploration,' NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer; with explorers on the Schmidt Ocean Institute's Research Vessel Falkor; and with Dr. Robert Ballard's team on the Ocean Exploration Trust's Exploration Vessel Nautilus.

Forum partners include NOAA, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, Google, Inc., the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Esri, NASA, the National Geographic Society, the National Research Foundation, the Ocean Exploration Trust, The Roddenberry Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Department of State. Others from governmental and non-governmental organizations will participate and during the first two days, and members of the public will participate as 'citizen explorers' online, adding  their voices in shaping the nation's ocean exploration program.

Except for breakout sessions, live streaming video will be available from the Forum at http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/oceanexploration2020/welcome.html. That website also offers more information about the Forum, including how the public may participate in the dialogue, as well as details about the event's partners, agenda, speakers, and related news.

Five breakout sessions are planned-four in-person and one online-each with the same assignment: to outline a 10-to-15-step plan to create a distinctive, distinguished, and inclusive National Ocean Exploration Program in 2020 that considers all ocean exploration stakeholders. Forum participants will then work to reduce and combine elements of the five plans into an ocean exploration vision and plan for a national program, including a strategy for meeting plan goals.

NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research explores the ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge. To learn more, visit http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on TwitterFacebook and our other social media channels. Visit our news release archive. 

The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a leader in ocean exploration education, bringing current ocean exploration and research initiatives to the forefront and connecting the public to scientists and explorers daily. Join us on FacebookTwitterYouTube and our other social media channels.