In a different kind of March Madness, Congress and the president kept us on the edge of our seats once again, approving a final Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 omnibus spending package just before the buzzer sounded. This bill was a win for the ocean sciences, with some agencies seeing their first real increases in several years. This includes $7.8 billion for NSF (a $295 million bump from FY 2017), $5.9 billion to NOAA ($234 million over FY 2017), and a $16 billion increase to the DOD’s basic and applied research and technology development programs. The omnibus also includes priorities COL and many of you have advocated for over the last year, including funding for three regional class research vessels, marine seismology capabilities, the Service Life Extension Program of the Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR)-23 class, the National Sea Grant College Program, unmanned underwater vehicle research, and much more. You can read more details in my full statement here and in our writeup below.
Thanks to everyone in our community who came together to push for adequate federal investments in the ocean science and technology enterprise. I salute you, along with our congressional champions of these issues, on a job well done!
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
MIT Unleashes A Hypnotic Robot Fish To Help Save The Oceans
Like a miniaturized Moby Dick, the pure-white fish wiggles slowly over the reef, ducking under corals and ascending, then descending again, up and down and all around. Its insides, though, are not flesh, but electronics. And its flexible tail flicking back and forth is not made of muscle and scales, but elastomer. The Soft Robotic Fish, aka SoFi, is a hypnotic machine, the likes of which the sea has never seen before. In a paper published today in Science Robotics, MIT researchers detail the evolution of the world’s strangest fish, and describe how it could be a potentially powerful tool for scientists to study ocean life.
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