The ocean plays a key role in climate regulation and in global biogeochemical cycles, and such role has been altered to a great extent ever since the Industrial Revolution and has produced a high impact on its operations: Global warming, which is associated with increasing concentrations of the green house effect gases in the Earth’s atmosphere has provoked significant changes in ocean circulation and energy. Furthermore, and within the context of global change, a sea level rise of up to 60 cm has been forecasted, with important social implications since about 10% of the world population currently resides in coastal areas. The oceans also provide services and resources of enormous significance for the development of human populations. Given the fact that the oceans are essential not only to providing services and natural resources but also for the proper operation of the Earth system and its response to the current global change processes, ocean observation is gaining prominence amongst the principal international research and environmental management programs.
▪ Line 1.1: Physical Oceanography. Researchers will supervise PhD thesis projects that will undertake large scale ocean and coastal circulation studies, including water masses, tides, etc. amongst other oceanographic phenomena, based on different observation and analysis methods.
▪ Line 1.2: Chemical Oceanography. It includes the study of biogeochemical cycles, synthesis of natural products, study of organic matter in the oceans, chemical pollution, nutrients cycle, green house gases and ocean-atmosphere interaction.
▪ Line 1.3: Geological Oceanography. It covers studies on coastal morphodynamics, paleoclimatology, paleoecolology, paleontology, biostratigraphy and paleography, stratigraphy, sedimentology, gas, evolution of continental margins, vulcanism and dune complexes.
▪ Line 1.4: Biological Oceanography. It includes taxonomy and ecology of plankton, benthos and nekton from intertidal zones to deep seas, study of trophic chains, primary and secondary production, life cycles, population dynamics, biogeography and invading species.
▪ Line 1.5: Remote Sensing. It covers a range of issues from development of sensors to signal processing, pattern recognition, satellite imagery analysis, and spectroscopy.
▪ Line 1.6: Observation Networks. It includes operational oceanography, time-series analysis, autonomous monitoring platforms, artificial intelligence, high frequency radars and ocean buoys.
▪ Line 1.7: Coastal Impact, Hydrography and Ocean Dynamics. It covers study of sea level rise and its effect on the coast, temperature and salinity variations, etc., forecasting numerical models and time-series, amongst others.
▪ Line 1.8. Impact on Biogeochemical Cycles. It analyses the effect of global changes on carbon cycles, nutrients, metabolism, primary production, respiration, etc.
▪ Line 1.9. Impact on Biodiversity. Studies range from impact on phytoplankton and zooplankton, benthic and pelagic organisms, populations to communities, invading species, etc. with special emphasis on their monitoring and modernisation.
▪ Line 1.10. Impact on Trophic Networks. It will analyse changes in marine trophic networks arising from climate change. And will study the manner in which changes in temperature, salinity, etc. modify the structure of trophic chains (number and type of species and/or interactions between species) due to the differential impact produced by these changes on food availability, habitat, predators, etc. of the trophic chain components.
▪ Line 1.11. Impact on Exploitable Resources. It covers subjects such as regional fisheries organisation, globalisation and rights to resources, bilateral and multilateral exploitation agreements, fish and shellfish assessment, dynamics of exploitable populations, etc.
▪ Line 1.12. Economic and Legal Assessment of Global Change. It groups issues related to macroeconomic impact of climate change, reforms in environmental taxes and levies, social policies, global warming effect on fisheries exploitation, services and value of ecosystems, effect of coastal erosion at the land-sea interphase, instruments and policies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, etc.