Fellowship awarded to investigate El Niño impact on Indian Ocean ecosystem resources


The Fuji from Gotenyama at Shinagawa on the Tokaido, Katsushika Hokusai. Image from Wiki Commons

The Fuji from Gotenyama at Shinagawa on the Tokaido, Katsushika Hokusai. Image from Wiki Commons.

Dr Marie-Fanny Racault, Earth Observation Scientist at PML, has been awarded a prestigious “Long-Term Invitational Fellowship” to carry out research for four months in the Application Laboratory (APL) lead by Prof Toshio Yamagata at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). Prof Yamagata is a world-renowned Japanese expert on El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole.

The fellowship has been awarded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), which is an independent organisation in Japan, established to promote science advancement in all fields of the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities. During the fellowship, Dr Racault will characterise and map influence of El Niño and other regional climate oscillations on primary producers in the Indian Ocean. Her research will be complementary to the PML Climate Change and Official Development Assistance (ODA) programmes.

El Niño is a climate phenomenon rooted in the Tropical Pacific Ocean, but its influence can be felt worldwide. The El Niño phenomenon occurs every 2-7 years. It can severely disrupt temperature and rainfall patterns, with knock-on effects on vector diseases, crops and marine ecosystem resources.

Marie-Fanny said: “It is vital for researchers to improve our understanding of El Niño influence on oceanic primary producers in the Indian Ocean. It would allow us to better inform fisheries management on possible risks and opportunities associated with El Niño events, and support more effectively adaptation and mitigation plans for dependent coastal communities of the Indian Ocean rim-countries including Small Island Developing States. It is an honour to have been awarded a JSPS Fellowship. It represents a brilliant opportunity to initiate collaborative research about El Niño and climate change impacts on the Indian Ocean ecosystem with Prof Yamagata and his team at APL JAMSTEC.”

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