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A U.S. Perspective on Global Developments in Marine Science

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Chapter Summary

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is the principal ocean agency in the United States. Three significant challenges facing the global marine science community lead to important priorities for the marine science community in the coming decades. They fall into three broad categories - earth observations, ocean exploration and ecosystem approaches. This chapter discusses five topics: Methane hydrates, Hydrothermal vents, seafloor spreading centers, seamounts and the other consequences of tectonic processes, Deep water corals, Ecosystems in extreme environments, and the genetic resources of extremophiles. The chapter provides a brief but broad overview of the many issues involved. Mid-ocean ridges, back arc spreading centers, vents and seamounts are expressions on the earth's surface of planetary-scale processes of ocean crust formation, plate separation, and global heat loss. Marine organisms are much more productive than terrestrial organisms.

Keywords: deep water corals; earth observations; ecosystem; ecosystem approaches; genetic resources; global developments; hydrothermal vents; marine science; methane hydrates; ocean exploration



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