SCOR Committee to Develop a Research Plan for the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2)

The Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO developed and managed the first International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE) in the early 1960s. Historical information about IIOE is available elsewhere on the SCOR Web site. In 2011, the SCOR Executive Committee began discussing the idea of an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the IIOE and several nations and international organizations began discussions after that time about the need for a second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2).  IOC, the Sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (SIBER) project of the SCOR/International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) project, the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System (IOGOOS) Panel, and the Indian Ocean group of the Climate Variability and Response (CLIVAR) project develop a Reference Group for the IIOE-2. This group has met three times so far and has sought to engage a wide variety of scientists and policymakers from the Indian Ocean region in identifying scientific and societal research priorities.  Reference Group reports can be found on the IOC Perth Web site.

in 2014, SCOR formed a committee to develop a Research Plan for the IIOE-2. This plan will be based on the foundation of the Reference Group's work and will feed into a Interim Planning Committee for the IIOE-2, co-sponsored by IOC, SCOR, and IOGOOS. 

Committee Members





Raleigh Hood, Chair

Biological oceanography

University of Maryland


Hermann Bange

Chemical oceanography and air-sea interactions

Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research


Lisa Beal

Physical oceanography

University of Miami


Lynnath Beckley

Fisheries oceanography

Murdoch University


Greg Cowie

Organic ocean chemistry

University of Edinburgh


Harry Hendon

Tropical climate and climate prediction

The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research


Juliet Hermes

Physical oceanography and climate, observations

South African Environmental Observation Network

South Africa

Makio Honda




Frank Peeters


Vrije Universiteit


Sunil Singh

Chemical oceanography

Physical Research Laboratory


Weidong Yu

Physical oceanography

First Institute of Oceanography


Liaison to IOC 

Nick D’Adamo

Physical oceanography

Perth Office, Australia


SCOR Staff
Ed Urban Marine biology SCOR Secretariat, USA SCOR

Terms of Reference

  1. Gather input from the international community about research interests in the Indian Ocean for 2016-2020
  2. Condense and summarize this research into international research priorities.
  3. Promote the IIOE-2 concept in national and international fora.
  4. Liaise with national planning committee on IIOE-2 development.
  5. Help plan launch event of IIOE-2 in Goa in December 2015.

Bremen Workshop

The committee held a workshop in Bremen, Germany on 12-13 September 2014, to help develop the IIOE-2 Research Plan.  The plan currently includes 6 themes and the core questions were developed for each of the themes:

Themes and Core Questions

To address this overarching goal the IIOE-2 will structure its research around five scientific themes.  Each of these include a set questions that need to be addressed in order to improve our understanding of the physical forcing that drives variability in marine biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems in the Indian Ocean and develop capacity to predict future changes. 

Theme Core Questions
1. Anthropogenic Impacts
  1. How are human-induced ocean stressors (for example, warming, sea-level rise, deoxygenation, acidification, eutrophication, atmospheric and plastic pollution, coastal erosion and overfishing) impacting the biogeochemistry and ecology of the Indian Ocean?
  2. How, in turn, are these impacts affecting human populations in Indian Ocean rim nations?
2. Boundary current dynamics, upwelling variability and ecosystem impacts:
  1. How are marine biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem processes and fisheries in the Indian Ocean influenced by boundary currents, eddies and upwelling?
  2. How does the interaction between local and remote forcing influence these currents and upwelling variability in the Indian Ocean?
  3. How have these processes and (their influence on local weather and climate) changed in the past and how will they change in the future?
3. Monsoon Variability and Ecosystem Response
  1. What factors control present, past and future monsoon variability?
  2. How does this variability impact ocean physics, chemistry and biogeochemistry in the Indian Ocean?
  3. What is the effect on ecosystem response, fisheries and human populations?
4. Circulation, climate variability and change
  1. How has the atmospheric and ocean circulation of the Indian Ocean changed in the past and how will it change in the future?
  2. How do these changes relate to topography and connectivity with the Pacific, Atlantic and Southern Oceans?
  3. What impact does this have on biological productivity and fisheries?

5. Extreme events and their impacts on ecosystems and human populations

  1. How do extreme events in the Indian Ocean impact coastal and open ocean ecosystems? 
  2. How will climate change impact the frequency and/or severity of extreme weather events, tropical cyclones and tsunamis in the Indian Ocean?
  3. What are the threats of extreme weather events, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, combined with sea level rise, to human populations in low-lying coastal zones and small island nations of the Indian Ocean region?
6. Unique geological, physical, biogeochemical, and ecological features of the Indian Ocean:
  1. What processes control the present, past, and future oxygen dynamics of the Indian Ocean and how do they impact biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem dynamics? 
  2. How do the physical characteristics of the southern Indian Ocean gyre system influence the biogeochemistry and ecology of the Indian Ocean? 
  3. How do the complex tectonic and geologic processes, and topography of the Indian Ocean influence circulation, mixing and chemistry and therefore also biogeochemical and ecological processes