Bio Geochemistry


Sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemical and Ecological Research (SIBER) and Geotraces programme, for a period of 5 years, were launched in FY 2010-11. Due to limited fund availability under concerned budget head, all science components of this National programme could not be initiated at the same time and only prioritized science component were provided financial support.

The scientific component of the National Programme “Sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemical and Ecological Research (SIBER)" and GEOTRACES are linked with time series experiments. These scientific activities are likely to be continued in the second half of the 12 Plan period as well and this programme may also include some new science component, such as palaeoclimatic reconstructions using various proxies.

a) Objectives:

  1. To set up time-series stations for bio-geochemical and ecological research.
  2. To identify the processes, quantify the fluxes that control the distribution of key trace elements and isotopes in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and part of Southern Ocean and to establish the sensitivity of these distributions to changing environmental conditions.

Siber (India)

The objective of the proposed sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemical and Ecological Research (SIBER) national programme will be to put on place time-series stations of the same quality as the BATS (Bermuda Atlantic time Series) in the Atlantic Ocean and HOT (Hawaii Ocean Time Series), in the Pacific Ocean.

Geotraces (India)

The objectives of GEOTRACES (India) programme are to identify the processes, quantify the fluxes that control the distribution of key trace elements and isotopes in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and part of Southern Ocean and to establish the sensitivity of these distributions to changing environmental conditions.

Dedicated sensor for Biogeochemical observations to be deployed through various mooring

SIBER and GEOTRACES programme requires continuous oceanographic data for better understanding the bio-geochemical processes occurring in Northern Indian Ocean (BOB, AB and Indian Ocean). NIOT/INCOIS are already in the process of installing few moorings in these regions at different specific locations which can by additionally provided specific sensors catering to the requirement of data collection useful for SIBER and GEOTRACES programme's objectives on a long term basis. In order to cover the entire area we may require about 10-15 such sensors at different locations. The financial implications of these sensors is included in the financial projection in Table given at the end of the document

Studies on Nitrogen

Increasing Nitrogen pollution in coastal & marine ecosystems, in ground water and in the atmosphere is the outcome of the leakages of N compounds from farm and fuel consumption processes humans engage in order to meet the growing demands of food and industrial development. This cascading of Nitrogen into coastal and marine waters is bound to rise and is unstoppable because of the pressure to increase fertilizer application to grow more food and to consume more fuel to meet the spiraling demands of the growing population.

Available data on reactive N in the Indian environment is scarce and therefore simulation of N cycle is not possible adequately. A coordinated program of measurement, research and modeling to enable backward integration of N flow rates through the land-air-ground water-stream-river-coasts-estuaries-ocean continuum in the Indian sub-continent is very essential. The above integration coupled with the knowledge of the regional estimates of current levels of reactive nitrogen, quantification of assimilation capacity and thresholds of various ecosystems to the rising N values and loading rates based on various development/policy scenarios will enable us to set up the necessary decision support system to learn how quickly the carrying capacity of the marine and coastal environment may be breached. An integrated research component to understand the dynamics and processes of Nitrogen cycle in different environment shall be initiated during XII Plan period under over all SIBER/GEOTRACES programme which has already been initiated.

b) Participating Institutions:

  1. National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research, Goa
  2. National Institute of Oceanography, Goa
  3. Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad
  4. Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, Hyderabad

c) Implementation Plan:

The time series experiments would be undertaken by NIO and PRL, while the paleo-reconstruction studies utilizing proxy indicators would be taken up by NCAOR and PRL. A clean chemistry lab is proposed to be established at NCAOR for the GEOTRACES component of the program. NCAOR would be the archival agency for all the data emerging out of the program.

The participating institutes shall be shouldering responsibilities to generate data of their specific science component from open ocean region. The companion projects will provide complimentary information from coastal areas. The SIBER/GEOTRACES programme is envisaged as the National multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary research programme of the MoES where various institutions / Universities would participate in this Programme from time to time. All participating organizations / Universities shall submit their regular inputs to the lead agency. A review and monitoring committee shall be constituted by MoES for regular review and Mid Term Correction (it any) during the period of implementation of these programmes.INCOIS Hyderabad will host all data generated by Participating institutes through this Programme. The scientific description of the programme is given below.

  1. Two open ocean time series locations have already been identified: At the Arabian Sea location a sediment trap/current meter mooring is already deployed; the Bay of Bengal site is the same as that chosen by INCOIS for the Bay of Bengal Observatory. It is planned to deploy another sediment trap mooring at this site. These sites will be visited at frequent intervals using research ships. Underway measurements (especially of pCO2) will be carried out on all cruises. These will provide data needed for refinement of estimates of air-sea fluxes. It may be pointed out that current estimates of CO2 emissions from the region vary widely: from 7 to 94 Tg C yr1 for the Arabian Sea; the available data are even more sparse from the Bay of Bengal, and it is still not quite certain whether the Bay serves as a net source or sink of CO2. Time series sampling at each site for process studies will initially last for 4-6 days, but longer sampling period may be necessary if and when more investigations are added to the programme.
    • The core measurements will include temperature, salinity, dissolved gases (oxygen, nitrous oxide and dimethy1 sulphide), nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, phosphate, silicate, total nitrogen, total phosphorus), dissolved inorganic carbon, dissolved and particulate organic carbon, alkalinity, biogenic silica, choroghy11 and other phytoplankton pigments, phytoplankton composition (size fractionation and biomass), primary production (including new production), bio-optics, zooplankton biomass (meso and micro) and composition including grazing experiments, bacterial and viral abundance and production rates. Studies on effects of hydrodrological factors on viral population will also carried under this programme.
    • The moorings will include current meters and some specialized equipment (e.g. smart samplers and, if possible, nutrient analyzers) to get higher resolution data during the intervening periods.
  2. Data collection and Management: The programme will generate volumes of data. There would be provisions for quality control of the data and a proper policy in place for data submission, storage and access. The core data will be accessible to all PIs within a reasonable time (as decided by MoES) after collection.
  3. Samples: There will be a well thought out and agreed upon sampling strategy. Many samples may have to be shared among various PIs, and provision must be made to collect adequate amount of samples for such multi-disciplinary studies

d) Deliverables:

Significant deliverables expected from the studies include (i) an understanding of the processes that govern the spatial and temporal distribution of key trace elements and isotopes in the seas and ocean surrounding the Indian landmass as well as in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean, and (ii) the responses of these key traces to changing environmental conditions.

e) Budget requirement : 100 crores

Budget Requirement
Name of the Scheme 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Total
Bio-geochemistry 20.00 20.00 20.00 20.00 20.00 100.00


Last Updated On 04/09/2015 - 14:09
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