As we all know Helmholtz Association is the Germany’s biggest scientific association and it encapsulates many research fields. One such major research field is Marine science. Recently, lot of focus has been put on marine research to address some of the major threats to the world’s ocean. Studies suggest ocean is greatly influenced by the anthropogenic activities, such as CO2 emissions. Changes in physics and chemistry of the ocean can have negative impact on the global climate and human society as well. Therefore, it is important that we start thinking about conserving our oceans (it’s high time now). Research institutes like GEOMAR, AWI etc. under Helmholtz umbrella are already addressing many of the scientific questions related to the change in the global ocean. There are many projects funded by German agencies and international agencies that are investigating impact of global climate change on the oceans and it’s feedback to the atmosphere. Once such project is SOPRAN, many research centers/universities like GEOMAR, AWI, Hamburg University etc. are part of SOPRAN project. This blog is on the SOPRAN annual meeting, which took place last month to highlight some of the key researches going on in SOPRAN and also the journey of SOPRAN.
SOPRAN is a joint project funded by BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung ) as well as SOLAS which is an international project. SOPRAN focuses on research related to atmosphere-ocean interactions, covering key aspects such as:
- How changes in the atmospheric composition affects ocean ecosystem dynamics e.g. Global warming, Ocean acidification
- How climate related changes in the surface ocean processes (upwelling, mixing, photoacclimation etc.) affects oceanic emissions to the atmosphere
- Quantifying rate of mass and energy fluxes exchanged between ocean and atmosphere
This year’s SOPRAN annual meeting took place at Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz. Meeting started on 17/03/2015 at 14.00, Dr. Jonanthan Williams who is the head of research unit “Organic reactive species” in the Atmospheric chemistry department welcomed us and gave us the overview of the institute. We started with sharing some light moments over coffee and general introduction. Meeting officially kicked off with an introductory speech by Dr. Hermann Bange who is a senior scientist at GEOMAR, Kiel and also the scientific coordinator of SOPRAN. As he went on with his speech, we learnt about the progress of research works under SOPRAN umbrella and I have no hesitation to say it loud that senior and junior scientist involved in these research works have done a remarkable job. They came up with amazing findings/results and some of them are already published. Dr. Bange informed us that SOPRAN project in totality is a great success. However, we had mixed feelings because we knew that SOPRAN is coming to the end next year in January but at the same time we all showed commitment to take the legacy of SOPRAN forward. After the introductory speech, it was time for the overview talks. We learnt about the developments and scientific work, which are in progress under different research “themes” in SOPRAN by the respective PIs (principle investigators). After the overview talks we again went for a coffee session which was dominated by the exchange of scientific ideas between the peers. In the evening we had a poster session (of course with the coffee and cookies). Some of the posters out there blew me away, the work was mind-boggling. I enjoyed reading all of them but some of the research that fascinated were:
- “Halocarbon emissions from the Baltic sea and how they alters atmospheric composition“
- “Role of bacteria in degrading halocarbons in the oceans“
- “Emission of sea salt aerosols from the oceans and their impact on atmospheric radiation“
- “Understanding influence of winds on accumulation of the organic matter on the sea surface by Aeolotron experiment”
- “Understanding the effect of ocean acidification on the dynamics of the pelagic ecosystem from the diverse mesocosm experiments”
- “Modeling effect of mineral dust on the cloud chemistry in the Cape Verde region”
- “ Inferring coastal upwelling velocities from the helium isotopes in the Peruvian upwelling region”
The showstopper for the evening came in form of lovely dinner at a restaurant in the city center. The vintage champagne in the restaurant greeted us and we all raised a toast for the success of SOPRAN. Next day we started the meeting with the “highlight” talks by the young scientists. Talks were amazing, addressing different scientific questions and approaches. I also gave a talk on my current research work, which is in the direction of addressing the question: “Effect of CO2 changes on the phytoplankton dynamics”. It was pleasing to see people were interested in my talk and afterwards gave me some useful inputs. That’s something I love about giving talks, you get some really valuable feedbacks. After the “highlight” talks, we discussed about the future of SOPRAN, some administrative stuff and also about the synthesis paper will be released sometime later in this year. Synthesis paper will summarize all the scientific accomplishments of the SOPRAN. The official end of the “SOPRAN annual meeting 2015“ was marked by the nice afternoon lunch and beverages.
To sum up, I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and it was great learning and networking experience.