Science Vessel Continues Research Voyage Despite Govt Shutdown

Oct 11, 2013

An Oregon State University research vessel is continuing its federally funded mission even though the federal government is shutdown.

The research ship Oceanus
Credit Oregon State University

The ship Oceanus is owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. The vessel is used to gather data on a wide range of subjects, including undersea earthquakes, ocean acidification, and fisheries. Rick Spinrad is Vice President for Research at OSU. He says even though the government is partially shutdown, the scientists still have work to do.

Spinrad: "Research can't be turned on and off quite that easily especially when the research is on naturally occurring processes. So for example, we do studies on fisheries. We do studies on things like oysters spawning, and the federal government cannot dictate when oysters spawn."

Spinrad says OSU is funding the research under the assumption that it will be paid back later by the National Science Foundation. The Hatfield Marine Science Center works with a number of federal agencies. Spinrad says about 40 OSU researchers are currently locked out of offices in Newport. This delays scientific projects and affects people's ability to pay the bills.