[IIOE2-EP16] Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements and Isotopes in the Indian Ocean (GEOTRACES-INDIA)

Lead investigator and other key participant(s):

  1. Dr. Sunil Kumar Singh, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad 380009, India

Period of Project: April 2011- continuing

Brief description of the Project:

Trace elements and isotopes (TEIs) play important role in the ocean as nutrients and as tracers of the contemporary and the past processes. Trace elements regulate ocean processes, such as marine ecosystem dynamics and carbon cycling. Several other trace elements also play vital roles in cell physiology and in biochemical reactions. However the role of these trace elements in controlling the structure and the productivity of marine ecosystems is not well understood. Their sources and sinks and biogeochemical cycling need to be understood to explain the spatial and temporal productivity variations in the global oceans. Knowledge of diverse sources and sinks, internal cycling as well as transport and chemical form of these trace elements in the ocean is required to understand the biogeochemical cycling of these micronutrients. Similarly, many of the stable and radiogenic isotopes in oceans serve as tracers to tag and time various oceanic processes and reconstruct paleo- climate/oceanographic records stored in sediments. Recently, some of these TEIs are also introduced into the oceans via anthropogenic processes and their distributions also provide information as environmental contamination. GEOTRACES (India) programme plans to map the distribution of trace elements and isotopes in the Indian Ocean and to identify the factors influencing these distributions. We have carried out five cruises (SK-304, 311, 312, 324, 325) and currently SK-338 is undergoing in the Indian ocean to meet the above objectives.

Region of study

Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Southern Indian Ocean.