Insights on the Biogeochemical Responses of Upwelling Events in Mozambican Waters

A major research project whereby BCSS is providing the research logistics & organizing the fieldwork, ReMoTURB, is facilitating learning about biogeochemical dynamics of the ocean in the Bazaruto Archipelago. It is also facilitating research on the correlation between chemistry and biology factors derived from areas around moorings in the pelagic deep waters off Bazaruto Archipelago and ReMoTURB’s scientific sensors, which provide data on sea temperature, salinity, fluorescence (indicator of chlorophyll for ocean biological productivity) as well as the strength and direction of currents.

Satellite image of Indian Ocean’s currents captured on the 1st of August 2023, showing an eddy in the Mozambican channel. 

Ocean acidification related variables such as inorganic nutrients (N, P, Si), total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), which are lined to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and are Global Climate Indicators, are derived from samples collected using NISKIN bottles via water column seawater around several moorings in the Bazaruto Archipelago.

The aim of these activities is to couple data gathered on upwelling seawater properties and Mozambique Channel eddies, with the information from sensors and buoys, deployed in the open ocean, to further analyse its biogeochemical relationship.

Simultaneously, fluorescence (indicator of chlorophyll for ocean biological productivity), measured via sensors on moorings, with time-series high-resolution data, once analysed, will help to better understand the biological properties, such as primary production and phytoplankton abundance. They are key indicators of the carbon cycle, the link between the upper ocean and the deep sea for transferring carbon.

The Mozambique Channel is known to host numerous eddies, both large and small, which influence the strength and volume of deep upwelling in the area. The force of the water movement has an impact on both biological and physical properties of the water, and through continuous data deriving from deployed  sensors, the ReMoTURB team hopes to be able to better understand how channel’s currents  impacting the environment at a larger scale.

General SWIO circulation. The unique Mozambique Channel eddies can possibly cause localised strong currents and upwelling.

BCSS, providing core fieldwork & logistical support to achieve ReMoTURB Project’s objectives, has been privileged to be working with the Mozambican Oceanographic Institute (InOM, former National Institute of Fisheries Research – IIP), that has been central for ReMoTURB Project development and implementation, leading to the strengthened capacities of fisheries science and sustainable fisheries management in Mozambique.

The first field campaign of the project took place in Mozambique in March 2023. The project was further supported by key stakeholders in the region, who will be widely benefiting from the databases generated to incorporate findings into their research management plans, and policy-making decisions. Such multi-disciplinary projects are pivotal in Mozambique to understand complex oceanic processes affecting ecosystem services, and ultimately resources exploited in the country.

This work is now progressing, and the second field campaign took place in July by its leading institutions – Instituto Oceanográfico de Moçambique (InOM) and Nelson Mandela University (NMU), as well as South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) and Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS); with the support of other regional partners.

For questions about this article, please contact:
Mario Lebrato, Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies

Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies
Host of the first permanent Ocean Observatory focused on multi-ecosystem time series research in Africa, the Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS) was established in 2017 as in independent, non-profit organisation with a mission to protect and support the fragile ecosystems of the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique. The research station is located on Benguerra Island, off the coast of Mozambique.

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