The Vision

Funded by the National Science Foundation, OOI was designed as a long-term project to collect ocean data for up to 30 years. This longevity makes it possible to measure and directly observe both short-lived episodic events and longer term changes occurring in the ocean. Such data makes it possible to better understand ocean processes and how the ocean is changing.

The OOI consists of five arrays that are continually collecting data about ocean conditions.  These marine arrays are outfitted with more than 900 instruments — of 45 different types — measuring more than 200 different parameters. The instrumented arrays gather physical, chemical, geological, and biological data from the air-sea interface to the seafloor, providing a wealth of information for research and education.

The data collected are transmitted through a cyberinfrastructure, making it possible for anyone with an Internet connection to download ocean data in real time.

As an open community resource, researchers are encouraged to add instrumentation to OOI arrays and to write data-driven proposals that use OOI data to help answer research questions.

The OOI is facilitating fundamental, interdisciplinary research that is contributing to advancing knowledge and understanding of the changing ocean, including:

  • Climate variability, ocean food webs, and biogeochemical cycles
  • Coastal ocean dynamics and ecosystems
  • Global and plate-scale geodynamics
  • Turbulent mixing and biophysical interactions
  • Fluid-rock interactions and the sub-seafloor biosphere

OOI Science Plan

The Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board updated the OOI Science Plan in January 2021.  The plan articulates the exciting research, educational opportunities, and pathways to advancing the understanding of high-priority science questions using OOI data.  Access it here.

Program Documents

As a NSF Major Facility, OOI maintains documentation that govern its infrastructure and operations.  A collection of these program documents is provided below

Please note that while every attempt is made to keep these documents up-to-date, the documents accessible here may not be the final released versions.