2014 Roger Revelle Memorial Lecture

The Executive Council of the Intergovernmental Ocenographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) traditionally opens with a lecture named in honour of Roger Revelle, whose important contributions to the awareness of global change form the basis of many IOC initiatives today.

This year's lecture will be given by Dr José Marín Baumar Marín Espinoza and Dr Máyida El Souki.

The CARIACO Ocean Time-Series Project: a window into oceanography in Venezuela

© Eric Tappa, University of South Carolina. Recovery of samples from a McLane Mark VII Sediment Trap. Cariaco Basin, Venezuela.

1st July 2014, 16:15, Room IV

The Cariaco Basin is one of the largest anoxic basins in the world's ocean located on the continental shelf of Venezuela in the South-eastern Caribbean Sea. It has a unique oceanography as it experiences strong seasonal upwelling driven by intense Trade Winds during December-April every year; during September and October, high precipitation increases riverine inputs. The upwelling leads to high primary productivity (~450 g of carbon/m-2 y-1) which supports local fisheries and leads to large fluxes of organic matter to the bottom of the Basin. The magnitude of this flux and the reduced exchange of water with the Caribbean Sea, due to its unique geography, lead to anoxic conditions in the basin from ~250 m to the bottom.

These characteristics make the Cariaco Basin an important location for studies of ocean chemistry, physical processes, biodiversity and climate change. Variations of marine and atmospheric conditions are stored in the basin’s sediments, which contain one of the most important and detailed records of past climate change.

The Cariaco Basin offers the international community a unique environment in which to study past and present changes, and predict future conditions. Since 1995, the CARIACO Ocean Time-Series Project has been collecting monthly time-series measurements of hydrographic, meteorological, geological, chemical and biological data critical to quantify and interpret the changing ocean and climate conditions. This includes assessments on important resources such as fisheries and cycling of carbon between the atmosphere and the ocean. Important shifts, such as ocean acidification and warmer ocean temperatures have already been observed at this location.

This international programme is lead by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in collaboration with a broad range of international partners. The lecture will provide an opportunity to discuss the programme, highlighting 20 years of research and findings, and to emphasize the importance and value of biogeochemical ocean time series programmes around the world to understand and better predict global changes.


Dr José Baumar Marín
Biologist, Associate Professor, University of Oriente (Venezuela)

In 1987, he joined the Marine Biology Department of the Oceanographic Institute of Venezuela (IOV), where he is currently Associate Professor. He is a member of the Study Group on Shellfish and Plankton Ecological Studies (CINS-UDO), and is developing projects and services in marine ecology. He currently coordinates the Ichthyoplankton Laboratory of IOV and specializes in research in Ecology and Taxonomy of fish larvae.

Dr Máyida El Souki
National Director of Research at La Salle Foundation for Natural Sciences

Biologist and Doctor in Ecological Sciences, she participated in several research projects that focused on ecology, biodiversity, preservation, and statistical analysis of environmental and time series data related to the climate change. She is the National Director of Research at La Salle Foundation for Natural Sciences, a 56 year-old scientific-educational institution at the service of communities.

IOC-UNESCO Roger Revelle Memorial Lecture Series

Roger Revelle

The first IOC-UNESCO Roger Revelle Memorial Lecture took place in 1992. The series has opened each Executive Council of the Commission since.

Roger Revelle (1909-1991) was a pioneer in oceanography and in global ocean science cooperation who spearheaded efforts to investigate the mechanisms and consequences of climate change. He was one of the first scientists to recognize the potential dangers of rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and to highlight the role of the ocean in the climate system and in climate variability.

In his introductory remarks to the first lecture of the series in 1992, then UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor explained:
"As one of the authors of the Copenhagen Declaration, he stated most clearly in 1960 the importance of the ocean to humanity as a whole and the need to study the ocean from many points of view and through the concerted action of all nations. His foresight of three decades ago was remarkable. At a time when the ocean was viewed by most as basically a source of food and a medium for transportation, Roger inserted into the Declaration the following:
'the oceans exert a profound influence on mankind and indeed upon all forms of life on earth. The oceans are inexhaustible sources of water and heat, and control the climate of many parts of the world.' (...)
This is the essential legacy left by Roger Revelle: not only his work as a pioneer in the field of international co-operation in ocean science and as one of the founding fathers of the IOC of UNESCO, but also his implicit call to all of us to promote to the best of our ability the vision of equity and universality that he embodied."

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