Oceans are as important for life on earth as land itself. Not only do oceans provide food for billions of people worldwide, they also are the primary source for rainfall on land. Oceans are the most important factor determining global weather variability, they cover large parts of our global fossil fuel reserves, while at the same time serving as an important carbon sink buffering climate change. Moreover, most of the trade routes cross the ocean surface. Finally, the ocean is a vast reservoir of sediments that record past climate and associated ocean temperature and circulation.

Extremely divers research

Ocean research within WCE is extremely diverse:

  • it varies from understanding global ocean circulation and sea-level dynamics;
  • to studying the effects of climate change and nutrient input on the ocean’s chemistry and plankton communities;
  • to studying the global ocean carbon sink;
  • to understanding ocean food webs and their resilience to disturbance by climate and mankind;
  • and to understand the geology band geochemistry of oceans of the past.

Research questions

  • Can we detect a collapse of the thermohaline circulation beforehand?
  • How much carbon is taken up by the oceans and where?
  • What will be the effect of flimate change on regional sea-levels?
  • What is the effect of increased pollution of river outflows to the ocean’s ecosystems?
  • How resilient are ocean foodwebs to disturbances by fishery? 
Low oxygen areas in the sea are an increasing problem world-wide

Professor Caroline Slomp