Shipboard Scientists Handbook1, 2

ODP Science Services3


Ocean Drilling Program

The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) is an international partnership of scientists and governments that have joined together to explore Earth's structure and history beneath the ocean basins. The central purpose of ODP is to provide (1) core samples and downhole measurements from beneath the oceans' floors and (2) facilities to study those samples. During each cruise, specific scientific objectives are pursued by the personnel on board the research vessel the JOIDES Resolution. Data generated by ODP lead to a better understanding of the processes of plate tectonics, the Earth's crustal structure and composition, conditions in ancient oceans, and changes in climate through time and, in turn, to a fuller comprehension of the evolution of our planet.

Deep Sea Drilling Project

ODP's predecessor, the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP), was established in 1966 at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego (USA), to acquire deep-sea cores on a routine basis for scientific study. Using the drilling vessel Glomar Challenger, DSDP obtained >60 mi of core from >1000 holes at 624 sites around the world. DSDP developed techniques for computer-controlled dynamic positioning to stabilize the ship over a borehole in mid-ocean and for reentry systems that allow drill bits to be changed and reinserted into the drill hole.

Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc.

ODP is managed by the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI), Inc., under contract with the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). JOI is a consortium of 20 major U.S. oceanographic institutions, which provide management support to scientific research programs of international stature. The institutions involved are Columbia University (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory), Florida State University, Oregon State University (College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences), Pennsylvania State University (College of Earth and Mineral Sciences), Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences and Faculty of Arts and Sciences), Stanford University (School of Earth Sciences), Texas A&M University (College of Geosciences), University of California at San Diego (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), University of Florida, University of Hawaii (School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology), University of Miami (Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science), University of Michigan (College of Literature, Science, and the Arts), University of Rhode Island (Graduate School of Oceanography), University of South Florida (College of Marine Science), University of Texas at Austin (Institute for Geophysics), University of Washington (College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences), and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.


The Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling (JOIDES) advises JOI in the overall objectives of ODP. JOIDES is an international group of scientists that provides planning and program advice regarding science goals and objectives, facilities, scientific personnel, and operating procedures. The primary governing arm of the JOIDES organization is the Executive Committee (EXCOM). The Science Committee (SCICOM) evaluates advice from the science advisory structure, prioritizes scientific objectives, and ranks drilling programs, forwarding recommendations on scientific objectives and drilling plans to EXCOM for final approval. The science advisory structure is headed by SCICOM and consists of two Science Steering and Evaluations Panels (Environmental and Interior) and the Operations Committee (OPCOM) along with short-lived detailed planning groups that are created as needed to assist in translating broad thematic programs into concrete drilling plans. Three service panels (Pollution Prevention and Safety [PPSP], Site Survey [SSP], and Scientific Measurements [SciMP]) and a Technology and Engineering Development Committee (TEDCOM) report to OPCOM.


Funding for ODP is provided by the following agencies: Australia/Canada/Chinese Taipei/Korea Consortium for Ocean Drilling; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Federal Republic of Germany); Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers–Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (INSU-CNRS; France); University of Tokyo (Ocean Research Institute; Japan); National Science Foundation (United States); Natural Environment Research Council (United Kingdom); European Science Foundation Consortium for Ocean Drilling (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland); and the Marine High-Technology Bureau of the State Science and Technology Commission of the People's Republic of China.

Science Operator

As Science Operator for the Ocean Drilling Program, Texas A&M University (ODP/TAMU) has leased the drillship JOIDES Resolution to continue the ocean exploration begun aboard the Glomar Challenger during DSDP. Operation of the drillship is managed from facilities at ODP/TAMU in College Station, Texas.

TAMU is responsible for the following:

  1. Implementing science planning and operations;
  2. Guiding engineering development and improvement of drilling technology;
  3. Selecting scientists for the shipboard scientific parties;
  4. Designing, furnishing, and maintaining shipboard and shore-based laboratories to meet the needs of the shipboard scientific staff;
  5. Curating and distributing all core samples and data;
  6. Publishing scientific results; and
  7. Providing public information about ODP.


ODP/TAMU is curator of all ODP cores in four repository facilities. The Bremen Repository, located at the University of Bremen (Germany), stores ODP cores from the Atlantic, Arctic, and Antarctic Oceans and the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas. Cores from the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Red Sea are housed at the Gulf Coast Repository at TAMU in College Station, Texas (USA). DSDP cores from the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Red Sea are stored at the West Coast Repository at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, California (USA). DSDP cores from the Atlantic, Arctic, and Antarctic Oceans and the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas are stored at the East Coast Repository at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York (USA).

1ODP Science Services, 2006. Shipboard scientists handbook. ODP Tech. Note, 36 [Online]. Available from World Wide Web: <>. [Cited YYYY-MM-DD]

2See Disclaimer.

3Ocean Drilling Program, 1000 Discovery Drive, College Station TX 77845-9547, USA.