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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

Research Themes: Ocean Resources for America's Needs

Methane hydrate
Methane hydrate is sometimes called "the ice that burns" because the warming hydrates release enough methane to sustain a flame. [larger version]

America is increasingly dependent on ocean resources for energy, raw materials for construction, and minerals vital to emerging communication and information technologies. Resources of high interest and value are gas hydrates, renewable kinetic energy in offshore winds, tides and currents, deposits of rare earth elements, and sand and gravel deposits for construction and beach nourishment. USGS conducts research studies focused on geologic mapping, sampling and understanding of mineral and energy resources and studies of the geologic setting and processes to inform renewable energy development offshore.

Use the tabs below to see current research related to Ocean Resources for America's Needs or see all Research Themes.

  • National Studies
  • Regional Studies
  • Applied Science
Gas HydratesGas Hydrates
Evaluating methane hydrates a potential energy source, studying relations between hydrate dynamics and submarine slope failures, and understanding the interactions between methane hydrate and climate change.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (National Study, Applied Science)
Law of the Sea - Outer Limits of the U.S. Continental MarginsLaw of the Sea - Outer Limits of the U.S. Continental Margins
Conducting field experiments in the regions beyond 200 nautical miles off U.S. coastlines to define the extended continental shelf.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (National Study)
Marine Aggregate Resources and ProcessesMarine Aggregate Resources and Processes
Collaborative collection of information about offshore aggregate deposits such as grain size, composition and extent to support resource and habitat assessments, and sustainable use and protection.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study, Applied Science), Ocean Resources for America's Needs (National Study, Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study)
Fluxes to estuarine and coastal environmentsFluxes to estuarine and coastal environments
Using interdisciplinary science that combines observations and numerical modeling to evaluate possible future environmental changes in tidal wetlands, estuaries and coasts.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study, Applied Science), Ocean Resources for America's Needs (National Study, Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study, Applied Science)
South China Sea DeepSouth China Sea Deep
Understanding the processes that control deep-ocean currents and sediment movement in northeastern South China Sea.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (National Study, Applied Science)
Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) MineralsPacific Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Minerals
Providing an assessment of the state-of-knowledge of the mineral resources within the Exclusive Economic Zones of Pacific islands of U.S. interest.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (Regional Study, Applied Science)
Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound (CHIPS)Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound (CHIPS)
Developing scientific information and tools to support natural resource managers in the adaptive management of nearshore habitats of Puget Sound.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (Regional Study), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (Regional Study)
National Seafloor Mapping and Benthic Habitat Studies: AtlanticNational Seafloor Mapping and Benthic Habitat Studies: Atlantic
Scientific monitoring and assessment of diverse marine habitats at Stellwagen and Georges Banks to preserve and support a large fishing industry.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study), Ocean Resources for America's Needs (Regional Study), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study)
National Seafloor Mapping and Benthic Habitat Studies: PacificNational Seafloor Mapping and Benthic Habitat Studies: Pacific
Collecting seafloor samples, video, and sonar data to produce maps and geologic information for marine resource management.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study), Ocean Resources for America's Needs (Regional Study), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study)
Coastal Aquifer Project II (CAPII)Coastal Aquifer Project II (CAPII)
Quantifying the relative role of ground water in the delivery of fresh water and nutrients to geologically distinct coastal areas.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (Regional Study), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (Regional Study, Applied Science)
Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST)Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST)
Studying complex physical and biological processes that are impacting the health of coral reef ecosystems, such as climate change, ocean acidification, increasing fishing pressure, and occurrences of disease, to inform their sustainable management.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (Regional Study), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (Regional Study, Applied Science)
Pacific Coral Reef Geology and OceanographyPacific Coral Reef Geology and Oceanography
Providing scientific understanding of the natural physical processes and human-induced impacts that critically influence the development and sustainability of U.S. coral reefs.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (Regional Study), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (Regional Study, Applied Science)
Sea and Lake Floor MappingSea and Lake Floor Mapping
Providing technical expertise and innovations in planning, acquiring, processing, interpreting, archiving, and publishing seafloor mapping products to support the coastal, and inner-continental shelf geology, sediment transport, environmental geoscience, and energy/tectonics research programs.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study, Applied Science), Ocean Resources for America's Needs (Regional Study)
Sediment Transport in Coastal EnvironmentsSediment Transport in Coastal Environments
Finding solutions to environmental problems caused by sediment erosion and movement.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (Applied Science), Ocean Resources for America's Needs (Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study, Applied Science)
Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) MineralsPacific Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Minerals
Providing an assessment of the state-of-knowledge of the mineral resources within the Exclusive Economic Zones of Pacific islands of U.S. interest.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (Regional Study, Applied Science)
Fluxes to estuarine and coastal environmentsFluxes to estuarine and coastal environments
Using interdisciplinary science that combines observations and numerical modeling to evaluate possible future environmental changes in tidal wetlands, estuaries and coasts.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study, Applied Science), Ocean Resources for America's Needs (National Study, Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study, Applied Science)
Gas HydratesGas Hydrates
Evaluating methane hydrates a potential energy source, studying relations between hydrate dynamics and submarine slope failures, and understanding the interactions between methane hydrate and climate change.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (National Study, Applied Science)
South China Sea DeepSouth China Sea Deep
Understanding the processes that control deep-ocean currents and sediment movement in northeastern South China Sea.
Research Theme(s): Ocean Resources for America's Needs (National Study, Applied Science)
Marine Aggregate Resources and ProcessesMarine Aggregate Resources and Processes
Collaborative collection of information about offshore aggregate deposits such as grain size, composition and extent to support resource and habitat assessments, and sustainable use and protection.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study, Applied Science), Ocean Resources for America's Needs (National Study, Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study)

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