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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Duke University
  • Bruce H Corliss
  • (401) 874-6222
  • Rebecca Smith
  • Lillian Govoni
Award Date:03/22/2005
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 7,429,874
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 7,480,972
  • FY 2007=$1,459,142
  • FY 2010=$1,428,643
  • FY 2009=$1,001,014
  • FY 2006=$865,816
  • FY 2011=$954,269
  • FY 2008=$473,762
  • FY 2005=$1,298,326
Start Date:03/01/2005
End Date:02/29/2012
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:490100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Ship Operations: R/V Cape Hatteras
Federal Award ID Number:0505781
DUNS ID:044387793
Parent DUNS ID:044387793
Program Officer:
  • Rose Dufour
  • (703) 292-8811

Awardee Location

Street:2200 W. Main St, Suite 710
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Duke University
Street:2200 W. Main St, Suite 710
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

Project Summary This project will support NSF funded research programs by providing a safe, efficient, and economical platform for studies conducted primarily on the East Coast, although the ship is providing coverage in Bermuda for the Weatherbird while it is in the ship yard. This is a five-year cooperative agreement, and in CY2005, 152 days out of 194 will be used to support NSF sponsored research for nine different awards. For each year of the cooperative agreement, funding is dependent upon the number of days at sea in support of NSF research, and budgets are renegotiated. The intellectual merit of the proposal lies in the funded science program. This proposal is for support of a research platform. Broader Impacts The research programs supported by Cape Hatteras will address a number of issues of societal importance, including the role of the oceans in climate change, the transport and impact of contaminants from fresh-water inputs into the oceans, preservation and changes of biogenic fossil materials over time, and understanding the carbon cycle. The proposed cruises will have graduate student and post-doctoral personnel participating and, as a result, will contribute to professional education and development. To help foster interest in ocean science, the Consortium will continue its cooperative workings with the local high schools and Carteret Community College, give annual tours of Cape Hatteras for the East Carteret High School Marine Biology classes, and offer high school and middle school science teachers the opportunity to sail with the NC State undergraduate techniques class. In addition, ship tours are also offered to undergraduate and graduate students who take courses at the Duke University Marine Laboratory.

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

The R/V Cape Hatteras is a 135-foot long UNOLS research vessel, which was designed by Rudolph Matzer and Associates (currently Rodney Lay and Associates) and built by Atlantic Dry Dock and Shipbuilding in Jacksonville, Florida.  Launched in 1981, she is the sister ship to the R/V Point Sur (formally the R/V Cape Florida).  These vessels make up the CAPE class vessels and were designed as a new class of coastal zone research vessels for the National Science Foundation.  Over the last 30 years, the Cape Hatteras has been operated by the Duke/University of North Carolina Oceanographic Consortium (DUNCOC) and berthed at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina.  The Duke/UNC Oceanographic Consortium, established originally for the purpose of operating this vessel, is an amalgamation of public and private universities in North Carolina and consists of North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, the Universities of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wilmington, and Greensboro, and Duke University.


The mission of the Cape Hatteras is to conduct basic oceanographic research.  The majority of the cruises have been funded by NSF and the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The Cape Hatteras has also been involved in a number of applied science cruises with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVO), and the Department of Energy (DOE) as funding agencies. 


The Cape Hatteras has a length of 135 ft., a beam of 32 ft., a depth of 13.5 ft., and a normal draft of 9 ft., 2 in. with a range of 8-10 feet.  The ship has a crew of 9 and can carry a scientific party of 14 (13 scientists and one marine technician).  Her speed varies from 0.1 knots (on station) to 12.0 knots (transit), with a normal cruising speed of 10.5 knots.  The Cape Hatteras has a range of 7000 nautical miles and endurance of 25 days at sea.


This 5 year Cooperative Agreement with NSF began in 2005 and in 2010 was extended for one additional year.  During the life of the agreement the R/V Cape Hatteras sailed a total of 1,090 days.  Of that, 648 were NSF funded cruises.  The NSF funded cruises took the Cape Hatteras from the Gulf of Maine all the way to Puerto Rico.  The vessel had four shipyard periods as well as four successful NSF inspections during this Cooperative Agreement.    


Calendar year 2010 was by far the busiest sailing year for the vessel during this Cooperative Agreement.  In late 2009, the 2010 schedule had 134 funded days.  However, by the end of the year the schedule had grown to 202 days; the majority being NSF Rapid Response cruises in the Gulf of Mexico due to the Deep Horizon Oil Spill.  NSF funded 129 of the 202 sailing days on the Cape Hatteras in 2010. 


Almost all research cruises on the Cape Hatteras have an educational component, with graduate and undergraduate students receiving training and experience in a wide range of operations in oceanography.  Besides the research cruises, the ship and its instrumentation are open for tours by high school and middle school students and Scouting groups. A tour of Cape Hatteras is an annual event for the Marine Biology classes at East Carteret High School and for undergraduates taking courses at the Duke Marine Laboratory.  Tours for the marine technical classes at Carteret Community College were also scheduled. 


Additional activities that had a broader impact from ship operations included the development of a website ( that provides information to shi...

For specific questions or comments about this information including the NSF Project Outcomes Report, contact us.