The National Institute of Oceanography owes its formation to a growing need for more detailed and systematic knowledge of the physics as well as the biology of the oceans, and the feeling that the United Kingdom, in co-operation with the Commonwealth countries, should play a part in marine science more in keeping with its tradition of interest in the oceans and their navigation. The Institute is controlled by the National Oceanographic Council, which was granted a Royal Charter in 1949 and operates with the aid of Government grants.
The emphasis of the programme is on long-term research under the main headings:
Interchange of energy between the atmosphere and oceans
Response of the sea surface to wind and pressure changes
General circulation of the oceans
Free and forced oscillations in the oceans
Distribution of marine organisms
Organic production in the oceans
Bionomics of whales.
There are many other activities and as much as possible is done to work out the practical implications of the research, and to help other marine scientists. The headquarters of the Institute are at Wormley, near Godalming, Surrey, and its research ship, the R.R.S. “Discovery II”, is based at Plymouth.