The Center for Interdisciplinary Marine and Maritime Reseach (CIMMAR) is an organizational unit within the University of Zadar that is fully independent and separate from the academic department hierarchy. Its long-term purpose and strategy is to embody the following six foundational principles:
In order to carry out these six principles, CIMMAR's long-term strategy is to serve the following four functions:
The core founding assumption of CIMMAR is that protection of marine resources of all kinds in the Mediterranean Sea requires an interdisciplinary research strategy that combines methods, expertise, and epistemological collaboration, synergism, and synthesis from many academic fields of research (Bjurstrom & Polk 2011; Burch 2011; Carlin 2011; Carroll, Kinnison & Bernatchez 2011; Collins et al. 2011) . Interdisciplinary collaboration is required for three basic reasons. These are:
Epistemological. Because all environmental challenges are multidimensional, with impacts spreading across all components of the environment and all functions of human society, their understanding, mitigation, and adaptive responses require vigorous and full engagement by all academic disciplines, making equal and interactive use of all ways of describing, interpreting, predicting, and evaluating environmental values, meaning, experience, and change (Vallega 1999).
Operational. Any environmental challenge is a challenge because its solution is operationally difficult, perhaps borders on the impossible; therefore, collaboration and sharing of knowledge, labor, tools, equipment, and infrastructure will be necessary to overcome substantial operational obstacles. This is especially true for underwater research, which has always been more labor and cost intensive than terrestrial research, and prohibitively so for most small institutions in developing countries, with the result that progress in underwater research has historically been interdisciplinary and has proceeded in parallel with research and innovation in all kinds of underwater, submersible, robotic, visualization and mapping engineering and technology (Ballard et al. 2000).