The scientists in their research attempt will try to understand the internal working of the ocean ecosystems at a cellular level in different parts of the Indian Ocean going as far as the Australian coast in the Southern hemisphere and sailing back to the Western coast of the country after exploring the Pakistani coast.
In a major development towards understanding the internal working of various life ecosystems in the Indian Ocean, 30 scientists from the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Panaji are going on a three months voyage into the Indian Ocean. The scientists aided with another 30 crew members will board the research vessel Sindhu Sadhan and enter the ocean from the East coast of the country and explore over 10000 nautical miles of the ocean, the Indian Express reported. The scientists in their research attempt will try to understand the internal working of the ocean ecosystems at a cellular level in different parts of the Indian Ocean going as far as the Australian coast in the Southern hemisphere and sailing back to the Western coast of the country after exploring the Pakistani coast.
The research which has been conceptualised after the groundwork of last 2-3 years will expend about Rs 25 crore in the whole expedition and would take at least three years to produce the intended results of the research, NIO Director Sunil Kumar Singh was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
NIO Indian Ocean Mission Objectives
The research team which will get into the ocean from the Visakhapatnam port on the Eastern coast of the country will gather genome samples of varied microorganisms inhabiting the Indian Ocean including that of bacteria and other microbes. With the genome findings at hand, the researchers will then try to gauge the impact of climate change, increasing pollution and nutrient stress on these micro-organisms. The researchers will collect samples from different patches and regions of the Indian ocean at a depth range of about 5000 metres
What will scientists do with genome sequencing?
Director Singh told the Indian Express that the sequencing will aid the scientists understand and identify factors responsible for the changes in the RNA, DNA of the ocean living organisms and also help them identify stressors or factors which are responsible for the current state of the microorganisms. The scientists will also try to understand the abundance and lack of a particular set of minerals in different patches of the ocean which could be utilised in the mitigation strategies to improve the ocean ecosystems.
Research on impact of trace metals on Indian Ocean
Trace metals like cadmium or copper are understood to enter the oceans through various sources including from run-off water flowing from industrial areas and other human habitations. In addition to the continental runoff water, atmospheric deposition and hydrothermal activities are also understood to be responsible for the addition of trace metals into the oceans. While some of these trace metals and other nutrients are essential for oceanic productivity, many of them can cause harm to the ocean ecosystem. The scientists will try to gauge the holistic impact of such materials on the Indian Ocean through the findings of the research.
How will scientists collect samples from deep oceanic surfaces?
Scientists lodged on the vessel will release Kevlar cables(up to 8 km long) deep down into the ocean to collect the samples from the oceanic surfaces. The Kevlar cables will be attached with a set of 24 teflon coated bottles that have a capacity to carry about 12 litres of oceanic water containing the vital samples. While some of the collected samples will be taken under scrutiny there and then on the ship, many samples will be stored under refrigerated conditions and brought back to the shore and experiments on those samples will be conducted in the laboratories.