PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Oceanographers in New England are asking the National Science Foundation for a new research vessel so they can explore the ocean together.

The foundation is looking for institutions to operate two new research vessels.

The University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and the University of New Hampshire formed the East Coast Oceanographic Consortium to apply for a vessel.

Twelve other universities and research institutes are associate consortium members. They include the University of Maine and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine. They’ll collaborate on research and education initiatives.

URI operates one of the foundation’s vessels, the Endeavor. It’s 41 years old.

Graduate school dean Bruce Corliss said bringing everyone together creates opportunities for new oceanographic research and educational activities.

He said they’ll share ideas and resources, which promotes the science.

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