The government is implementing a project to study various aspects of biogeochemistry in the seas around India, including the east and the west coast, the Lok Sabha was informed today. Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan said the long-term study on biogeochemistry of the seas around India was launched in 2010 with the participation of a network of national scientific and academic institutions.
“There are 24 sub-projects under the programme addressing various aspects of biogeochemical aspects at an estimated cost of Rs 47 crore,” he said during Question Hour. The participating agencies include National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, Central Marine Living Resources, (CMLRE) Kochi, Central Marine Fishery Research Institute (CMFRI), Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT).
The study contributes towards understanding climate change and marine biogeochemistry. It envisages collection of time-series data both in the open ocean and the estuarine and coastal waters of India. The minister said a set of three time-series observing stations were established on the west coast near Kochi, Condolim in Goa, and in the Arabian Sea.
The overarching objective is to carry out multi-disciplinary research at selected locations covering, core physical, chemical and biological parameters with a view to understanding the carbon and nitrogen biogeochemical process including associated trace elements in the seas around India.
Vardhan said the key mission of the project is to assess the impact of natural and anthropogenic forcing on the biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem dynamics of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal and study the human-induced changes in climate and nutrient loading impact on the marine ecosystem and biogeochemical cycles.
The minister said preliminary investigations reveal that the natural oceanographic process such as seasonal upwelling occur along the southwest coast of India appear to play a major role rather human interventions on the marine environment.