“I foresee a continued demand for ships, consistent with what it’s been in the past several decades,” says David Checkley, a marine scientist at Scripps. “The decline in fleets that’s projected is worrisome. We need an investment that is congruent with very large projects that governments undertake if we’re to continue to study the oceans.”Ocean scientists are a hardy lot - we often take extreme risks in extreme environments to try and understand the 70% of our earth's surface covered by water. But to do it successfully we need resources - most notably ships that are seaworthy and have the latest updated lab equipment to study the ocean while we'r eon the ocean.
So when that fleet's health and sea worthiness is threatened by budget cuts, I get concerned. You should too. Because funding for ocean science infrastructure is really a subset of the problem of lack of infrastructure spending in America writ large.