Science and Research

Science and Research

The overarching goal of IIOE-2 is to advance our understanding of interactions between geologic, oceanic and atmospheric processes that give rise to the complex physical dynamics of the Indian Ocean region, and determine how those dynamics affect climate, extreme events, marine biogeochemical cycles, ecosystems and human populations. This understanding is required to predict the impacts of climate change, pollution, and increased fish harvesting on the Indian Ocean and its surrounding nations, as well as the influence of the Indian Ocean on other components of the Earth System. New understanding is also fundamental to policy makers for the development of sustainable coastal zone, ecosystem, and fisheries management strategies for the Indian Ocean. Other goals of IIOE-2 include helping to build research capacity and improving availability and accessibility of oceanographic data from the region.

To address this overarching goal the IIOE-2 will structure its research around the following six scientific themes. Each of these includes a set questions that need to be addressed in order to improve our understanding of the physical forcing that drives variability in marine biogeochemical cycles, ecosystems and fisheries in the Indian Ocean and develop the capacity to predict how this variability will impact human populations in the future. It is also important to emphasize that most of these questions are relevant to open ocean, coastal and marginal sea environments.

In each research theme link:

Human impacts

How are human-induced ocean stressors impacting the biogeochemistry and ecology of the Indian Ocean? How, in turn, are these impacts affecting human populations?

Boundary current dynamics, upwelling variability and ecosystem impacts

How are marine biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem processes and fisheries in the Indian Ocean influenced by boundary currents, eddies and upwelling?
How does the interaction between local and remote forcing influence these currents and upwelling variability in the Indian Ocean?
How have these processes and their influence on local weather and climate changed in the past and how will they change in the future?

Monsoon variability and ecosystem response

What factors control present, past and future monsoon variability?
How does this variability impact ocean physics, chemistry and biogeochemistry in the Indian Ocean?
What are the effects on ecosystems, fisheries and human populations?

Circulation, climate variability and change

How has the atmospheric and oceanic circulation of the Indian Ocean changed in the past and how will it change in the future?
How do these changes relate to topography and connectivity with the Pacific, Atlantic and Southern oceans?
What impact does this have on biological productivity and fisheries?

Extreme events and their impacts on ecosystems and human populations

How do extreme events in the Indian Ocean impact coastal and open-ocean ecosystems?
How will climate change impact the frequency and/or severity of extreme weather and oceanic events, such as tropical cyclones and tsunamis in the Indian Ocean?
What are the threats of extreme weather events, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, combined with sea level rise, to human populations in low-lying coastal zones and small island nations of the Indian Ocean region?

Unique geological, physical, biogeochemical, and ecological features of the Indian Ocean

What processes control the present, past, and future carbon and oxygen dynamics of the Indian Ocean and how do they impact biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem dynamics?
How do the physical characteristics of the southern Indian Ocean gyre system influence the biogeochemistry and ecology of the Indian Ocean?
How do the complex tectonic and geologic processes, and topography of the Indian Ocean influence circulation, mixing and chemistry and therefore also biogeochemical and ecological processes?