The future of science in the Indian Ocean was the topic of a major forum held at Murdoch University on Thursday.
Murdoch University hosted an Australian planning session for the International Indian Ocean Expedition 50th Anniversary Initiative (IIOE-2), a global collaborative effort to improve scientific knowledge about this vital ocean supporting the livelihoods of billions of people.
The IIOE-2 programme, which will be held in 2015-2020, will mark 50 years since the last major international interdisciplinary examination of the Indian Ocean.
Professor Lynnath Beckley from Murdoch University, who chaired yesterday’s meeting, said that there have been many fundamental developments in ocean science since the last survey.
The International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE) was one of the greatest international, interdisciplinary oceanographic research efforts of all time. It involved many research vessels (under 14 different flags) that carried out an unprecedented number of hydrographic surveys (and repeat surveys) of the entire Indian Ocean basin from 1960 – 1965.
“In the 50 years since the IIOE, there have been two massive developments in ocean science that have revolutionised our understanding of the ocean,” Professor Beckley said.
“The first is the emergence of new components of the ocean observing system – most notably remote sensing and Argo floats. The second is the advent of oceanographic modelling in all its facets – including short-term forecasting, seasonal predictions and climate projections.”
Marine scientists from around Australia and Indonesia took part in the IIOE-2 planning session yesterday, which covered many aspects of Australia’s potential role in the proposed expedition.
Murdoch University’s Director of Research and Development, Dr Karen Shaw, said it was tremendous for Murdoch University to host the IIOE-2 Forum on the run up to the 50th anniversary of the inaugural expedition.
“Without a doubt, we have a cadre of world leading marine research scientists at Murdoch and it would seem perfectly fitting for them to be co-ordinating the research element of the preparations,” said Dr Shaw.
“These types of meetings are always logistically challenging but Professor Lynnath Beckley and her colleagues managed to attract interest from the key stakeholder groups across Australia and indeed Indonesia.”
The proposed IIOE-2 is coordinated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, and involves participation from nearly all the countries neighbouring the Indian Ocean, as well as countries which regularly trade in and ply its waters.