UNCW Under the Sea and on Capitol Hill

Wilmington, NC – Less work on beach erosion, more on ocean exploration. That will be the shift if the Undersea Research Center at UNC-Wilmington is successful in lobbying congress.

UNCW's Undersea Research Center is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

A bill currently before congress could combine NOAA's undersea research with its ocean exploration program.

Alan Shepard, director of the UNCW center, testified in front of a House subcommittee last week that a merger would shift his program's focus.

I think we're going to be pushed off shore, and we're going to be pushed into more advanced areas, and that will become more of the niche we fill. Maybe a downside, in that we're not going to be able to do all the things we did before. But on the other hand it's pretty exciting to all of us.

Shepard says the proposed merger of the two under seas programs is part of a push to ensure future congressional funding.