Objectives:Focused Research aims to arrive at a substantial level of new insight, improved control of the marine ecosystem, and/or real solutions to maritime problems. The objective is to plan and conduct focused research jointly with industry and government agencies who act as co-sponsors. We feel this is the most effective way to attack major problems of broad interest to the marine community and to quickly transfer the resulting technology to industry and government users for further use and development.Methodology:The Focused Research Program is an independent research initiative having equal status with our Advisory and Core Research activities. Principal Investigators seeking to establish a Focused Research Program follow the same submission and peer review process as those applying under the Core Research guidelines. However, these projects require a comprehensive approach where the biological sciences, physical oceanography and engineering disciplines are meshed with public policy and sometimes with educational issues. The Research Plan for a new Focused research Program is included as a component of this Omnibus Proposal. Included here is a Focused Research/Marine Center Program proposal by Franz Hover titled “Autonomous Vehicle Exploration and Sampling of Deep-Water Corals.” This program will build upon the leading edge research resulting from prior Focused Research Programs, most notably those dealing with the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) which is today being used in its advanced design in field studies all over the world.Rationale:We envision that our proposed AUV research on deep-water corals will provide important information on past climate change that will be of benefit to scientists, commercial entities, and policy makers. Concurrently, we will make strides in the development of autonomous operations in the deep ocean which will allow for innovative navigation and control designs and concepts pertaining to inspection and manipulation.