Regional Organization for the Protection
of the Marine Environment
ROPME Winter 2006 Cruise

Date: 1 Feb.-11 Mar 2006 (RSA and Sea of Oman)
Vessel: T/V Ghods- I.R.Iran
Sponsors: ROPME and DOE (I. R. Iran)
Objectives: Comprehensive Oceanographic Study for the assessment of prevailed marine and meteorological features in the whole RSA during winter season.

This Cruise can be fairly considered as a significant stage to the Regional monitoring performance and as an added value to the world of oceanography.

It was planned and achieved taking into account the obstacles faced in the previously organized Cruises and accomplished depending on thinking, planning and proceeding by existing facilities and expertise from the Region.

Totally, more than one hundred scientists and specialists have participated during the three legs of the Cruise.

For increasing the performance during the cruise and magnifying the benefits from the Cruise, a Regional Task Force was formulated from reputed marine scientists from the Region to plan the Cruise scientific programme and to follow upon the implementation. The Task Force started the identification of Cruise targets as follows:

  • To gather oceanographic data, to be construed as a representation of the prevailing season, for characterizing physicochemical properties of the water masses in the RSA;
  • To Collect samples of the water column and seabed sediments for the determination of nutrient concentrations and distribution, possibly including impact analysis and source apportionment, whenever possible;
  • To obtain widespread sediment samples for determining the seasonal concentration and distribution of the oil and non-oil pollutants within the RSA, especially - persistent toxic substances such as total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) and other by-products including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals, organochlorinated pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs);
  • To observe the dominant winter composition, abundance, and biomass of the phytoplankton, zooplankton, and Ichthyoplankton through standard net tows and multi-bottle sampling; and
  • To elucidate the winter community structure of Macrobenthos, meiobenthos, and cysts based on their observed biodiversity and abundance in sediments.

To achieve the targets of the Cruise within high quality performance , the Cruise Task Force elaborated three Management Plans.

About 5000 of water, sediment and biological samples were collected during the Cruise as required by the scientific plan for carrying out analysis and investigations relevant to different disciplines. Type and total number of collected samples are grouped leg wise in the following table:

One of principal objectives of the Cruise was to extend opportunity for conducting the analysis of collected samples among specialized National Research Institutions in the Region. Towards this, a series of proficiency were conducted between willing laboratories to designate the most proficient laboratory to conduct samples analysis in each discipline.

Subsequently, ROPME Secretariat received the following final reports on the analytical and investigation results of each discipline:
  • Hydrography and meteorology in the ROPME Sea Area during the ROPME Winter 2006 Oceanographic Cruise in comparison with the results of Cruises 2000 and 2001
  • Pollutants in surface sediments and geochemistry of sea bed
  • Nutrient salts in sea water
  • Analysis of Phytoplankton and Chlorophyll-a samples
  • Analysis of Zooplankton samples
  • Analysis of Ichthyoplankton and Decapod Larvae samples
  • Meiobenthic community structure in ROPME Sea Area during the ROPME Winter 2006 Oceanographic Cruise in comparison with the results of Cruises 2000 and 2001
  • Analysis of macrobenthos samples
  • Analysis of Foraminifera samples
  • Preliminary Assessment of Radionuclides in marine sediments
Recently, the Regional Cruise Task Force held a meeting with the following objectives:
  • Discussion of the results of different disciplines
  • Standardization of interpretation of results
  • Result validation and data management
  • Integration of results
  • Evaluation of results
  • Standardization of biotic monograph format
  • Publication of results
  • Identification of gaps in knowledge and future need
  • Future course of action
The Task Force recommended to organize an International Conference to present the ROPME winter 2006 Cruise along with previous ROPME Cruises and any other oceanographic activities in the RSA. Tentatively, it is planned to hold this conference in one of the ROPME Member States during mid 2011.

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