Emeritus professor and deputy director of UCT's the Marine Research Institute (Ma-Re), Dr John Field, has been awarded the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission's (IOC-UNESCO) NK Panikkar Memorial Medal.
Field delivered a memorial lecture in Paris where recent developments in ocean science were presented to the IOC's 147 member states, networks and partners at an Ocean Science Day on 17 June.
The day took the form of lectures and panel discussion with eminent experts, aimed at helping decision makers to gain a better understanding and awareness of challenges and emerging issues around ocean science and governance.
Presentations and debates focused on the links between ocean health and human wellbeing; the potential of the latest advances in monitoring technology; current scientific challenges in the Artic; the legacy of the International India Ocean Expedition; as well as the need to develop new ocean knowledge and technologies for the benefit of society.
Field shared the experiences he had had on board the seventh cruise of the RV Anton Bruun during the first International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE) in the 1960s.
The IIOE, which was one of the most significant international, interdisciplinary oceanographic research efforts of its time, was carried out from 1962 to 1965, with over 40 oceanographic research vessels participating under 14 different flags. It shed light on the Indian Ocean's far-reaching influences on surrounding regions and the globe in general through tele-connected ocean/climate processes.
Now, 50 years later, IOC-UNESCO is planning the second IIOE in partnership with the Scientific Committee for Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Indian Ocean GOOS (IOGOOS), to take place from 2016 to 2020.
During his lecture, Field provided insights on the legacy of the first IIOE, and the fundamental changes that have revolutionised our understanding of the global ocean in the 50 years since then. He also talked about the potential of IIOE-2 in light of new technological advances.
Story by Sven Ragaller. Image courtesy of UNESCO/Laisa Oliveira Lopes.
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