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US academic fleet cuts operations as budget bites

Budget freezes and high fuel costs will force one vessel in the US academic oceanographic fleet — probably from an East Coast institution — to remain docked throughout 2009. Two other members of the fleet's 23 ships will run on only partial schedules.

Some of the US research fleet may be suspended. Credit: SOEST/UNIV. HAWAII

At their annual meeting in Arlington, Virginia, last week, council members of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratories System (UNOLS) said the cutbacks were necessary to save money. Despite sidelining ships, UNOLS still faces one of its largest ever deficits, of $19 million, in its $100-million budget to fund next year's fleet.

Final plans to select the ships and strategies to cover the deficit will be made by the end of October.

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US academic fleet cuts operations as budget bites. Nature 455, 719 (2008).

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