The Section of Oceanography promotes, implements and coordinates OGS's research activities in the fields of ocean science and marine life.
These activities combine experimental approaches, theoretical activities and computational aspects, and integrate physical, chemical, biological, environmental, engineering and informatics skills, with the aim of improving the understanding of the functioning of oceans and marine ecosystems, the importance they have for the planet and society, and the dangers they are threatened by.
The Section also supports the development of a new alliance between man and the sea, based on the paradigms of sustainability and awareness.
Research includes widespread work on characterising the state and variability of marine biogeochemical dynamics, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, with particular reference to the Italian seas, the Mediterranean and polar areas, and the relationships between physical variability and ecological response.
The care that has always been taken concerning the quality of experimental data has led to constant technological upgrading, thanks to which the Section has consolidated OGS's leadership position in marine observation activities carried out with robotic systems (fixed buoys, floating buoys, submarine gliders), in the field of metrology of marine parameters, and in the management of databases and data centres. At the same time, the Section carries out an intense activity in marine systems modelling, aimed at the quantitative understanding of physical and ecological dynamics, the study of the impact of climate change and marine acidification on marine systems, the analysis of the sustainability of fishing and aquaculture, the diffusion and impact of pollutants, and the integration of experimental observations into a theoretical framework. These activities are complemented by a well-established tradition in the study of plankton biodiversity and microbial ecology issues, and a strong focus on ecosystem sustainability issues.
The Section of Oceanography is also engaged in research with important applicative connotations. It includes major exploration projects, also for environmental characterisations functional to the deployment of large infrastructures, and in short-term sea state forecasting services carried out on behalf of the European COPERNICUS system. The Section contributes significantly to the development of ESFRI research infrastructures, both directly coordinated by the OGS (EURO-ARGO, ECCSEL and PRACE-IT) and coordinated by other entities (ICOS, EMBRC). Since 2001, it has managed the National Oceanographic Data Centre for Italy, and since 2002, the renovated the Oceanographic Calibration Centre. In 2015, it opened a multidisciplinary centre for the study of the impact of marine acidification on the island of Panarea, where underwater CO2 emissions create a naturally acidified environment.