National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST) was
established in 2002 in partnership with NOAA's Undersea Research
Program (NURP) to develop and apply new technologies that enhance
undersea research. NIUST consists of three divisions and an external
grants program: (1) the Ocean Biotechnology Center & Repository
(OBCR), (2) the Seabed Technology Research Center (STRC), both at
the University of Mississippi, and (3) the Undersea Vehicle Technology
Center (UVTC) at the University of Southern Mississippi.
- The OBCR maintains the only repository in the nation dedicated
solely to the cataloging and analysis of extracts derived from
marine organisms. The chemical compounds of these organisms, collected
from both shallow reefs as well as the deep sea, hold significant
potential for development of new drugs and bioproducts.
- A seafloor observatory at a site 1000 m deep in the Gulf of
Mexico is currently being established by the STRC to study the
role of microbes in the formation and habitat dynamics of methane
- The UVTCs targets of interest include ROVs with 6000 m
depth capability and ocean observatory AUV docking stations. To
this end, UVTC is developing technologies involving interactive
communication, data assimilation and processing, and artificial
intelligence appropriate for the operation/deployment
of ROVs and AUVs.
- The external grants program provides funding for targeted research
and development through a competitive process.