[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 128 (Tuesday, July 7, 2009)]
[Pages 32112-32116]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-15960]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


[Docket No. 0906261096-91096-01]
RIN 0648-ZC08

Comparative Analysis of Marine Ecosystem Organization (CAMEO)

AGENCIES: Fisheries Headquarters Program Office (FHQ), National Marine 
Fisheries Service (NMFS), National

[[Page 32113]]

Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce; National 
Science Foundation (NSF).

ACTION: Notice of funding availability.


SUMMARY: This announcement solicits proposals for the Comparative 
Analysis of Marine Ecosystem Organization (CAMEO) Program which is 
implemented as a partnership between the NOAA National Marine Fisheries 
Service and National Science Foundation Division of Ocean Sciences. The 
purpose of CAMEO is to strengthen the scientific basis for an ecosystem 
approach to the stewardship of our ocean and coastal living marine 
resources. The program will support fundamental research to understand 
complex dynamics controlling ecosystem structure, productivity, 
behavior, resilience, and population connectivity, as well as effects 
of climate variability and anthropogenic pressures on living marine 
resources and critical habitats. CAMEO encourages the development of 
multiple approaches, such as ecosystem models and comparative analyses 
of managed and unmanaged areas (e.g., marine protected areas) that can 
ultimately form a basis for forecasting and decision support. Further 
information is available on the CAMEO web site (http://cameo.noaa.gov).

DATES: Full proposals must be received and validated by Grants.gov, 
postmarked, or provided to a delivery service on or before 11:59 p.m. 
ET, October 5, 2009. Please note: Validation or rejection of your 
application by Grants.gov may take up to 2 business days after 
submission. Please consider this process in developing your submission 
timeline. Applications received after the deadline will be rejected/
returned to the sender without further consideration. Use of U.S. mail 
or another delivery service must be documented with a receipt. No 
facsimile or electronic mail applications will be accepted.

ADDRESSES: Electronic application packages are strongly encouraged and 
are available at: http://www.grants.gov/. If the applicant's only mode 
of submitting a proposal is via paper application, or if the applicant 
has difficulty accessing Grants.gov or downloading the required forms, 
they should contact: Lora Clarke, CAMEO, NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East-West 
Highway, Room 14505, Silver Spring, MD, 20910 or by phone at (301) 713-
2239, or via internet at [email protected].

NOAA/NMFS, (301) 713-2239, [email protected]; Lora Clarke, 
Associate Program Manager, NOAA/NMFS, (301) 713-2239, 
[email protected]; Cynthia Suchman, Associate Program Director, 
Biological Oceanography, OCE/GEO/NSF, (703) 292-8582, [email protected]; 
David Garrison, Program Director, Biological Oceanography, OCE/GEO/NSF, 
(703) 292-8582, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: CAMEO will be implemented as an interagency 
partnership between NOAA-NMFS and NSF. The interests of these agencies 
overlap in funding basic scientific research that will lead to 
discovery and a deeper understanding of the factors controlling 
ecosystem dynamics, with the potential to create tools for effective 
living marine resource management. The first competition for the 
program was held in 2008, with several initial projects selected for 
FY2009 funding. This announcement provides guidance to researchers 
wishing to apply for CAMEO support in FY2010. We expect that CAMEO 
proposals will continue to focus on comparisons of environments where 
there is a rich base of environmental and biological data, where there 
are clear and compelling management issues, and where further research 
is likely to result in a deeper understanding of ecosystem processes 
that ultimately can lead to management tools or solutions. Projects 
with a strong probability of producing results that can be widely 
applied are likely to be most compelling. A substantial challenge is to 
develop research that integrates across spatial and temporal scales -- 
from conducting local, short-term investigations to evaluating 
regional, decadal processes. The over-arching goal is to produce 
information applicable to stocks of managed resources and ecosystems 
that will support management decisions. Because of their link to 
management, CAMEO projects must emphasize population and community 
processes affecting upper trophic levels and/or multi-species 
interactions. Proposals should not be submitted that focus on areas 
(such as microbial dynamics, biogeochemical cycling, and ocean 
acidification) that overlap existing programs within NSF and NMFS. 
Questions about whether proposals are appropriate for the CAMEO program 
should be directed to the NOAA or NSF technical contacts. As 
appropriate to each proposal, applicants should employ one or more of 
the approaches below, providing sufficient detail for critical 
evaluation of methodology and connection to CAMEO objectives.
1. Synthesis of existing time series and/or ongoing observation 
    Projects may draw on a wide range of existing data and 
observations, including historical data sets and ongoing programs. If 
this approach is chosen, it is expected that the project will primarily 
focus on the synthesis of information rather than the development or 
support of new observational capabilities. Any new field studies must 
be well justified and integrated with existing data.
2. Modeling
    Modeling is likely to be an approach common to many CAMEO 
proposals. These efforts may range from the development of conceptual 
models for emergent properties such as connectivity or resilience to 
more specific numerical models used for ecosystem comparisons or 
predictions. Among the many possible modeling approaches, different 
models (or sets of assumptions) may be compared for the same ecosystem, 
or the same (or similar) models may be applied to compare different 
3. Experimental approach
    Carefully planned experiments can shed light on the mechanisms 
driving large-scale patterns and processes. Moreover, experiments can 
provide information to parameterize models, e.g., environmental 
tolerances and reproductive, growth, survival, and trophic transfer 
rates. In CAMEO, comparative experimental approaches may include 
traditional field, mesocosm, or laboratory experiments as well as non-
traditional opportunities provided by experimental adaptive management 
(conducted at large spatial scales with the potential to illuminate 
mechanisms structuring ecosystems).
4. Human dimensions
    Human activities have compounded climate-related and other 
environmental changes affecting marine ecosystems. In turn, human 
systems need to respond and adapt to changes in the availability of 
marine living resources and other goods and services resulting from 
ecosystem processes. In CAMEO, collaborations between natural and 
social scientists may undertake interdisciplinary comparative research 
on ecosystems, living resources and human interactions.
5. Taking multiple and integrative approaches
    In some cases, the aim of CAMEO -- to develop links between 
fundamental research on marine ecosystems and issues of living 
resources management -- may be addressed effectively through 
integration of the above approaches.

[[Page 32114]]

Therefore, research strategies combining approaches may provide an 
important contribution to the CAMEO Program.
Program Priorities:
    This funding opportunity will implement CAMEO research by 
supporting the development of research tools and strategic approaches. 
The following types of proposals are encouraged:
    1. Development of strategies and methodologies for comparative 
analyses that can be applied consistently across spatial and temporal 
scales and ecosystems, and that facilitate the design of decision 
support tools for marine populations, ecosystems and habitats.
    2. Development of models that address key scientific questions by 
comparing ecosystems and ecosystem processes. Models that are 
geographically and temporally portable, and that incorporate assessment 
of modeling skill, are particularly encouraged.
    3. Retrospective studies that analyze, re-analyze or synthesize 
existing information (historic, time-series, ongoing program, etc.) 
using a comparative approach.
    4. Studies that integrate the human dimension within ecosystem 
dynamics. The CAMEO program seeks to promote interdisciplinary research 
using comparative approaches to link marine ecosystem research with the 
social and behavioral sciences in new and vital ways.


    The full text of the full funding opportunity announcement for this 
program can be accessed via the Grants.gov web site at http://www.grants.gov. The announcement will also be available by contacting 
the program officials identified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 
Applicants must comply with all requirements contained in the full 
funding opportunity announcement.


    Authority for CAMEO is provided by the following: 33 U.S.C. 1442 
for the National Marine Fisheries Service and 42 U.S.C. 1861-75 for the 
National Science Foundation.


    11.472, Unallied Science Program


    It is anticipated that up to $6 million will be available to 
support 2-3 year projects in response to this announcement


    Eligible applicants are U.S. institutions of higher education, 
other non-profits, state, local, Indian Tribal Governments, and Federal 
agencies that possess the statutory authority to receive financial 
assistance. International collaborations are encouraged, but 
international partners are not eligible to receive funding, including 
travel funds. Collaborative partnerships between academic or private 
researchers and NOAA scientists are highly encouraged. Federal 
employees are not eligible to apply for salary.


    None is required. Applicants may seek supplementary funding from 
other agencies or foundations (non-profits, state, local etc). 
Applicants are encouraged to discuss funding opportunities with these 
entities prior to submitting proposal applications to NOAA/NSF and 
should list any supplementary funding in their applications.


    The general evaluation criteria and selection factors that apply to 
full applications to this funding opportunity are summarized below. 
Further information about the evaluation criteria and selection factors 
can be found in the full funding opportunity announcement.


    The general evaluation criteria that apply to full applications to 
this funding opportunity are summarized below. For the purposes of this 
competition, NOAA will adopt the NSF evaluation criteria. NSF merit 
review criteria are listed below. Following each criterion are 
potential considerations that the reviewer may employ in the 
evaluation. These are suggestions and not all will apply to any given 
proposal. Each reviewer will be asked to address only those that are 
relevant to the proposal and for which he/she is qualified to make 
judgments. Principal Investigators (PIs) should be aware that a 
component of Criterion 2 will be how well the project meets CAMEO 
program goals.
    Criterion 1 (50%): What is the intellectual merit of the proposed 
activity? How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge 
and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How 
well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the 
project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of 
prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and 
explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts? How 
well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there 
sufficient access to resources?
    Criterion 2 (50%): What are the broader impacts of the proposed 
activity? How well does the activity advance discovery and 
understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How 
well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of 
underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, 
geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure 
for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, 
networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to 
enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the 
benefits of the proposed activity to society? Each proposal that 
requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include a 
description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such 
individuals. Mentoring activities provided to postdoctoral researchers 
supported on the project, as described in a one-page supplementary 
document, will be evaluated under the Broader Impacts criterion. PIs 
should address the following elements in their proposal to provide 
reviewers with the information necessary to respond fully to the above-
described merit review criteria. NSF and NOAA staff will give these 
elements careful consideration in making funding decisions.
    Integration of Research and Education: One of the principal 
strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of 
research and education through the programs, projects and activities it 
supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions 
provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently 
assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students, and 
where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the 
excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of 
learning perspectives.
    Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities: 
Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens 
-- women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with 
disabilities -- are essential to the health and vitality of science and 
engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems 
it central to the programs,

[[Page 32115]]

projects, and activities it considers and supports.


    Proposals will be evaluated individually in accordance with the 
assigned weights of the above evaluation criteria by independent peer 
mail review and/or by independent peer panel review. Both Federal and 
non-Federal experts in the field may be used in this process. The peer 
mail reviewers have expertise in the subjects addressed by the 
proposals. Each mail reviewer will see only certain individual 
proposals within his or her area of expertise, and will score them 
individually on the following scale: Excellent (1), Very Good (2), Good 
(3), Fair (4), Poor (5). Those proposals receiving an average mail 
review score of ``Fair'' or ``Poor'' will not be given further 
consideration, in which case proposers will be notified of non 
selection. The peer panel will comprise 8 to 12 individuals, with each 
individual having expertise in a separate area, so that the panel, as a 
whole, covers a range of scientific expertise. The panel will have 
access to all mail reviews of proposals, and will use the mail reviews 
in discussion and evaluation of the entire slate of proposals. All 
proposals will be evaluated and scored individually. The peer panel 
shall rate the proposals using the evaluation criteria and scores 
provided above. Scores from each peer panelist shall be averaged for 
each application and presented to the program officers. No consensus 
advice will be given by the independent peer mail review or the review 
panel. The program officers will neither vote or score proposals as 
part of the independent peer panel nor participate in discussion of the 
merits of the proposal. Those proposals receiving an average panel 
score of ``Fair'' or ``Poor'' will not be given further consideration, 
and proposers will be notified of non selection. For the proposals 
rated by the panel as either ``Excellent,'' ``Very Good,'' or ``Good'', 
the program officers will (a) select the proposals to be recommended 
for funding according to the averaged ratings, and/or by applying the 
project selection factors listed below; (b) determine the total 
duration of funding for each proposal; and (c) determine the amount of 
funds available for each proposal subject to the availability of fiscal 
year funds. Awards may not necessarily be made in rank order. In 
addition, proposals rated by the panel as either ``Excellent,'' ``Very 
Good,'' or ``Good'' that are not funded in the current fiscal period, 
may be considered for funding in another fiscal period without having 
to repeat the competitive, review process. Proposals recommended for 
funding by the Program Officers are then forwarded to the NMFS 
selecting official and/or NSF Ocean Sciences Division Director for the 
final funding recommendations. Final recommendations are based upon the 
reviewer/program officer recommendations, project funding priorities 
and availability of funds. Final decisions for all recommended 
proposals will be made within the Grants Divisions at NOAA and NSF. At 
the conclusion of the review process, the NOAA Program Officer and the 
NSF Biological Oceanography Program Officer will notify lead proposers 
for those projects recommended for support, and negotiate revisions in 
the proposed work and budget. All proposals selected for funding by NSF 
will be required to be resubmitted to NSF's FastLane system. Final 
awards will be issued by the agency responsible for a specific project 
after receipt and processing of any specific materials required by the 
agency. Investigators may be asked to modify objectives, work plans or 
budgets, and provide supplemental information required by the agency 
prior to the award. When a decision has been made (whether an award or 
declination), verbatim anonymous copies of reviews and summaries of 
review panel deliberations, if any, will be made available to the 
proposer. Declined applications will be held by NOAA for 3 years in 
accordance with the current retention requirements, and then destroyed.


    The Selecting Official shall award in the rank order unless the 
proposal is justified to be selected out of rank order based on one or 
more of the following factors: 1. Availability of funding 2. Balance 
and distribution of funds (by research area, project type, type of 
institutions, type of partners, geographical location) 3. Duplication 
of other projects funded or considered for funding by NOAA/NSF. 4. 
FY2010 Program Priorities (listed above under Program Priorities, and 
in Section I.B. of the FFO) 5. Applicant's prior award performance. 6. 
Partnerships with/Participation of targeted groups. 7. Adequacy of 
information necessary to make a National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) determination and draft necessary documentation before 
recommendations for funding are made.


    Applications under this program are not subject to Executive Order 
12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.


    In no event will NOAA, the Department of Commerce, or NSF be 
responsible for proposal preparation costs if these programs fail to 
receive funding or are cancelled because of other agency priorities. 
Publication of this announcement does not oblige NOAA or NSF to award 
any specific project or to obligate any available funds.


    NOAA must analyze the potential environmental impacts, as required 
by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), for applicant projects 
or proposals which are seeking NOAA federal funding opportunities. 
Detailed information on NOAA compliance with NEPA can be found at the 
following NOAA NEPA website: http://www.nepa.noaa.gov/, including our 
NOAA Administrative Order 216-6 for NEPA, http://www.nepa.noaa.gov/NAO216_6_TOC.pdf, and the Council on Environmental Quality 
implementation regulations, http://ceq.eh.doe.gov/nepa/regs/ceq/toc_ceq.htm. Consequently, as part of an applicant's package, and under 
their description of their program activities, applicants are required 
to provide detailed information on the activities to be conducted, 
locations, sites, species and habitat to be affected, possible 
construction activities, and any environmental concerns that may exist 
(e.g., the use and disposal of hazardous or toxic chemicals, 
introduction of non-indigenous species, impacts to endangered and 
threatened species, aquaculture projects, and impacts to coral reef 
systems). In addition to providing specific information that will serve 
as the basis for any required impact analyses, applicants may also be 
requested to assist NOAA in drafting of an environmental assessment, if 
NOAA determines an assessment is required. Applicants will also be 
required to cooperate with NOAA in identifying feasible measures to 
reduce or avoid any identified adverse environmental impacts of their 
proposal. The failure to do so shall be grounds for not selecting an 
application. In some cases if additional information is required after 
an application is selected, funds can be withheld by the Grants Officer 
under a special award condition requiring the

[[Page 32116]]

recipient to submit additional environmental compliance information 
sufficient to enable NOAA to make an assessment on any impacts that a 
project may have on the environment.


    The Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for 
Grants and Cooperative Agreements contained in the Federal Register 
notice of February 11, 2008 (73 FR 7696), are applicable to this 


    This document contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The use of Standard Forms 
424, 424A, 424B, and SF-LLL and CD-346 has been approved by the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) under the respective control numbers 
0348-0043, 0348-0044, 0348-0040, 0348-0046, and 0605-0001. 
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to, 
nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, 
a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA 
unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB 
control number.


    This notice has been determined to be not significant for purposes 
of Executive Order 12866.


    It has been determined that this notice does not contain policies 
with Federalism implications as that term is defined in Executive Order 


    Prior notice and an opportunity for public comment are not required 
by the Administrative Procedure Act or any other law for rules 
concerning public property, loans, grants, benefits, and contracts (5 
U.S.C. 553(a)(2)). Because notice and opportunity for comment are not 
required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law, the analytical 
requirements for the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) 
are inapplicable. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis has not 
been prepared.

    Dated: June 29, 2009.
Steven A. Murawski, Ph.D.
NOAA Fisheries, Chief Scientific Advisor, Director of Scientific 

    Dated: June 30, 2009.
Phillip R. Taylor
Section Head, Ocean Section, Division of Ocean Sciences, National 
Science Foundation.
[FR Doc. E9-15960 Filed 7-6-09; 8:45 am]