NOAA Laboratories and Centers

Accomplishing NOAA's missions requires a solid underpinning in atmospheric sciences, limnology, oceanography, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and space physics. NOAA's ability to meet our mission goals can only be as good as the state of knowledge in these scientific disciplines. Our laboratories and science centers conduct leading-edge fundamental and applied research on Earth's chemical, physical, and biological systems; this research leads to direct improvements in NOAA's ability to succeed in our mission.

Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC)
AFSC is responsible for research in the marine waters and rivers of Alaska. The AFSC develops and manages scientific data and provides technical advice to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the NMFS Alaska Regional Office, U.S. representatives participating in international fishery negotiations, and the fishing industry and its constituents. The AFSC also conducts research on marine mammals worldwide, primarily in coastal California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. This work includes stock assessments, life history determinations, and status and trends. Information is provided to various governmental and international organizations to assist in developing rational and appropriate management regimes for marine resources under NOAA's jurisdiction.

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML)
AOML conducts research in physical oceanography, tropical meteorology, atmospheric and oceanic biogeochemistry, and acoustics in the world ocean with a focus on the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean, and South Florida. AOML research seeks: to understand the physical characteristics and processes in the ocean and the atmosphere, both separately and as a coupled system, and their implications upon climate, biogeochemistry, ecosystems, and tropical storms; and, to contribute to both seasonal to interannual climate forecasts and decadal to centennial climate predictions. AOML is a main partner in the development of a sustained Ocean Observing System for Climate to support NOAA mission requirements and a center for hurricane intensification research.

Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research (CCEHBR)
CCEHBR conducts research related to coastal ecosystem health, environmental quality, and public health. Chemical, biomolecular, microbiological, and histological research is conducted to describe, evaluate, and predict significant factors and outcomes of influences on marine and estuarine habitats. The Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in Oxford, MD, is part of CCEHBR.

Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research (CCFHR)
CCFHR is jointly sponsored by the NOS and NMFS. The CCFHR conducts laboratory and field research on estuarine processes, the biological productivity of near-shore and ocean ecosystems, the dynamics of coastal and reef fishery resources, and the effects of human influences on resource productivity.

Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA)
CCMA assesses and forecasts coastal and marine ecosystem conditions through research and monitoring. CCMA provides the best available scientific information for resource managers and researchers, as well as technical advice and data access. CCMA addresses pollution, land and resource use, seascape ecology via GIS technology, invasive species, climate change, and extreme events.

Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (CSCOR)
CSCOR/COP is a federal-academic partnership to develop predictive capabilities for managing coastal ecosystems. High-priority research and interagency initiatives support quality science relevant to coastal policy decisions including issues directly supporting NOAA's overall mission.

Coast Survey Development Laboratory (CSDL)
CSDL explores, develops, and transitions emerging cartographic, hydrographic, and oceanographic technologies and techniques to provide products and services to Coast Survey, NOS, and NOAA partners and customers in the coastal community. These products support safe and efficient marine navigation and a sustainable coastal environment. CSDL consists of three components: Cartographic and Geospatial Technology Programs (CGTP), Hydrographic Systems and Technology Programs (HSTP), and Marine Modeling and Analysis Programs (MMAP).

Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL)
GLERL conducts research and provides scientific leadership to understand, observe, assess, and predict the status and changes of Great Lakes and coastal marine ecosystems to educate and advise stakeholders of optimal management strategies. GLERL houses a multidisciplinary scientific core focusing on research that leads ecosystem forecasts on physical hazards, water quality and quantity, human health, invasive species, and fish recruitment and productivity. It houses NOAA's National Invasive Species Center and the NOAA Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health.

Hollings Marine Laboratory (HML)
HML is a multi-institutional, inter-disciplinary institution providing science and biotechnology applications to sustain, protect, and restore coastal ecosystems, emphasizing linkages between environmental and human health.

Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC)
NEFSC manages a multidisciplinary program of basic and applied research to better understand living marine resources of the Northeast Continental Shelf from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras. The Office of Marine Ecosystem Studies (OMES) develops technologies and conducts ecosystem-based research and assessments of living marine resources and their environments to promote recovery and long-term sustainability of fish stocks and protected species; restore and preserve essential habitats to secure ecosystem health; and enhance and ensure long-term social and economic benefits to society from their use. The Large Marine Ecosystems Program Office continues to develop a concept for ecosystem based management that is based on a 5-module approach (productivity, fish and fisheries, pollution and ecosystem health, socioeconomics, and governance), and applies its approach to 16 ongoing international projects in the world. The NEFSC also describes and provides to management authorities, industry, and the public, options for the conservation and utilization of living marine resources.

Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC)
NWFSC conducts multidisciplinary research to provide fisheries management information and technical advice. Such information supports national NMFS programs, responds to the needs of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, and supports other constituencies along the U.S. West Coast.

Oceans and Human Health Centers of Excellence
NOAA is pleased to announce its three new Centers of Excellence, which together will serve as a cornerstone of the Oceans and Human Health Initiative:

Together, these three Centers will serve as a strong scientific focus for NOAA's oceans and human health efforts. The Centers are built on collaboration with both academic and private sector partners. Each NOAA Center will focus on a suite of scientific issues. A few of the issues will involve all three Centers, others will involve two of the Centers, and the remainder will receive focused attention of just one of the Centers. For any scientific issue that is associated with two or all three of the Centers, OHHI will work with the Centers in their coordination with each other, and with other federal, state, regional and local groups with management responsibilities for human health matters associated with the oceans.

Ocean Systems Test and Evaluation Program (OSTEP)
The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services' OSTEP introduces new and improved oceanographic and marine meteorological sensors and systems to improve quality, responsiveness, and value of individual sensors or integrated sensor systems. In addition to the testing, evaluation, and integrating phases, OSTEP performs continuous research and awareness of technology offerings and their application to navigation safety.

Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC)
PIFSC conducts research on fisheries, coral reefs, protected species, and the oceanographic and ecosystem processes that support them. PIFSC conducts biological, ecological, and socio-economic research in support of fishery management plans and protected species recovery plans. Research and analysis of the resulting fisheries data support fisheries policy and management; protected species efforts examine the status and problems affecting the populations of the Hawaiian monk seal and the sea turtles. PIFSC activities support the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, the NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office, and international commissions on Pacific tuna.

Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)
PMEL carries out interdisciplinary investigations in oceanography and atmospheric science. Results from PMEL research activities contribute to seasonal-to-interannual climate forecasts, assessing and predicting decadal to centennial climate change, advancing short-term warning and forecast services, developing improved tsunami forecast capabilities, and building sustainable fisheries.

Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)
SEFSC conducts research in the southeastern United States, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. SEFSC develops scientific information required for fishery resource conservation, habitat conservation, and protection of marine mammals, sea turtles, and endangered species. The SEFSC also conducts impact analyses and environmental assessments for international negotiations and for the South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils.

Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC)
The Southwest Fisheries Science Center is the research arm of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service in the Southwest Region. Center scientists conduct marine biological, economic, and oceanographic research, observations, and monitoring on living marine resources and their environment throughout the Pacific Ocean and in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica. The ultimate purpose of these scientific efforts is for the conservation and management of marine and anadromous fish, marine mammal, sea turtle, and other marine life populations to ensure that they remain at sustainable and healthy levels.

Ecosystem Programs

Aquaculture Coastal Marine Resources Enforcement
Fisheries Management Protected Species Ecosystem Observations
Coral Reef Conservation Habitat Ecosystem Research