History of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership
The origins of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI) date back to 1964, when four institutions – Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the University of California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography – formed Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling (JOIDES). This became a national effort to explore the worldwide geological and geophysical structure of the seafloor through a long-term systematic program of scientific ocean drilling. The Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) used the specially constructed drillship, Glomar Challenger.
In 1968, the University of Washington and in 1975 the University of Hawaii, the University of Rhode Island, Oregon State University, and Texas A&M University joined the four original institutions of JOIDES.
Although JOIDES continued as the science advisory structure for DSDP, it became apparent that a corporation was needed to manage such a large, complex program. The Joint Oceanographic Institutions was incorporated in 1976 and began operations in 1978.
JOI’s first tasks in the 1970s were to support the JOIDES advisory structure and to manage the U.S. Site Survey Program. By the end of DSDP, the Glomar Challenger had traversed more than 650,000 kilometers and collected more than 90,000 kilometers of core samples. The community looked forward to an expansion of this successful program with the latest drilling technology. In the early 1980s, declining oil prices provided the opportunity for conversion of a commercial drilling vessel at reasonable costs. In 1983, the National Science Foundation awarded JOI the prime contract for the overall management of the Ocean Drilling Program to ensure that the planning and execution of ODP would meet the needs of the national and international scientific community.
In the late 80s and 1990s, JOI held workshops where early visions for what is now the Ocean Observatories Initiative were crafted. JOI’s work also encouraged integrated projects using satellite oceanography and ship-based research.
In 1989, JOI established the Council on Ocean Affairs as a formal committee of the corporation. Membership in the committee was opened to the larger community. Its main goal was the education of the public and its congressional representatives about the many ways in which a better scientific understanding of our ocean environment contributes to our society. COA worked closely with federal agencies and Congress to ensure that the critical role of the academic community in the federal ocean science program is recognized and that ocean science research is adequately understood and supported. In addition, COA sponsored a major annual meeting, the Congressional Oceans Forum, which brought together members of the Council and representatives of Congress and the Executive branch to discuss the health of oceanography and the state of funding.
The support the Council of Ocean Affairs brought to ocean sciences led to the formation of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) as a division of JOI in 1994. CORE was formed to more formally advocate on behalf of the ocean science research community.
CORE established a leadership role on oceanographic issues and the development of marine science policy over the years. CORE is respected as the voice of the ocean community and is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the oceans among government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the general public.
CORE’s mission was to advance ocean research, education and policy by: 1) facilitating ongoing ocean research programs and fostering new ocean research investments by public, private and government institutions; 2) promoting high quality education in the ocean sciences, fostering collaborations between scientists and educators and enhancing public ocean literacy; 3) advocating ocean policy issues by representing the academic and industry ocean research community before Congress, partnering with and advising government agencies, and collaborating with non-governmental organizations; and 4) cultivating and promoting awareness and appreciation of the oceans among government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the general public.
By 2007, JOI had grown to a consortium of 31 premier oceanographic research institutions that served the U.S. scientific community through management of large-scale, global research programs in the fields of marine geology and geophysics and oceanography. By 2007, CORE had grown to a consortium of 93 public and private ocean research and education institutions, aquaria and industry.
Known for leadership of U.S. scientific ocean drilling and ocean observing initiatives, JOI facilitated science advisory committees, coordinates with funding agencies and policy makers, sponsors meetings that enable scientific planning and exchange, and publicizes the opportunities and outcomes of its programs.
Since 1994, CORE has played a vital role in advancing ocean research and worked to develop sound marine science policy. CORE is the respected voice of the ocean community and is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the oceans among government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the general public.
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
JOI and CORE legally merged to form the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in 2007. This alliance represents a critical move toward a unified voice in the nation’s capital for oceanographic research. Ocean Leadership is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that represents more than 100 of the leading public and private ocean research education institutions, aquaria and industry with the mission to advance research, education and sound ocean policy. The organization also manages ocean research and education programs in areas of scientific ocean drilling, ocean observing, ocean exploration, and ocean partnerships.