Nansen Environmental Research Centre (India) Ltd (NERCI)

Description of the organisation

Nansen Environmental Research Centre India (NERCI) was established in 1999 as a joint venture between Indian and Norwegian partners. It is one of the centres in the Nansen Group. NERCI is a Non-profit research centre (registered as a section 25 company), and is registered as Scientific and Industrial and Research Organisation (SIRO) by Dept. of Scientific and Industrial Research of Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India. It conducts basic and applied research in interdisciplinary research areas in cooperation with Nansen Group, Indian MoU partners and other international associate partners like Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), UK; CMCC, Italy; ALTERRA, Netherlands and IFREMER, France. NERCI conducts studies by way of in situ observations, satellite data processing, numerical ocean and climate models. NERCI has a full-fledged bio-optics and modelling lab facility. NERCI promotes PhD scholars and Masters students from India and abroad to conduct research and internship under the guidance of its distinguished scientists. NERCI has staff strength of 16, including 5 permanent scientists and 3 full time doctoral students. It is a recognised research centre of the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), Kerala, where NERCI office is currently functioning.

Expertise particularly relevant for the project

NERCI has acquired meta-data compiled from various sources around the globe which includes quality checked in situ data on parameters like chl-a, primary productivity, nutrients, aerosol, optical parameters and environmental parameters from the Northern Indian Ocean. This could serve as input data for models used in the project to assess variability in primary productivity in the Indian waters.

NERCI scientists have been involved in the monitoring of harmful algal blooms (HABs) for the past 6 years as part of the INDO-MARECLIM (EU-FP7 project), SHABASHI and HABAQUA (POGO-NANO projects) projects. The expertise developed in estimating phytoplankton composition and pigment analysis using HPLC could be used for validation of phytoplankton functional types assessed using remote sensing data; since phytoplankton functional types has direct linkage to ocean biogeochemistry.

NERCI has also worked on the influence of tropical Indian Ocean warming on the chlorophyll concentrations in the north Indian Ocean, especially the sudden fluctuations in primary productivity and increasing occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs), as well as the influence of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) on the primary productivity in the eastern Arabian Sea. This expertise will be used in WP2 of COMFORT, to study the HABs in Northern Indian Ocean.

Several studies have been undertaken at NERCI to analyse the Indian summer monsoon variability at annual and decadal time-scales, with work on the variability of coastal upwelling along the west and east coasts of India, the inter-annual and decadal variations in Indian summer monsoon rainfall and its implications on the primary productivity and ecosystem dynamics.

Another area of expertise of NERCI is Oxygen Minimum Zone (OMZ) related studies in the Arabian sea and at present, the implication of OMZ on primary productivity and fishery is being studied as a funded project from Department of Science and Technology (DST), India titled “Impact of the developing hypoxia in the Eastern Arabian Sea Coral reefs are vulnerable ecosystems that suffer the brunt of global warming and ocean acidification”. Coral reefs that act as important sinks of C in the ocean can serve as indicators of the health of the oceans. Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (ICAR-CMFRI) is one of the scientific collaborators and of NERCI and will contribute remotely sensed data as well as provide additional expertise on coral bleaching for improved understanding of the combined effect of thermal stress and acidification also in relation to further biogeochemical cycles (C, O2 and N).

For more information please visit NERCI website.