South-South Framework for Scientific and

Technical Cooperation in the South and
Tropical Atlantic and Southern Oceans

Developed by South Africa’s Department of Science and
Technology and Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology,
Innovations and Communications
July 2017
and Communications in Brazil, its genesis lies in
the ambition to develop a framework for a wide
range of scientific cooperation activities linking all
The South and Tropical Atlantic and the Southern
the nations adjoining the South Atlantic Ocean.
Oceans are, as a system, the least studied of all
Scientists and government officials from Argentina,
ocean bodies, which is incommensurate with their
Uruguay, Namibia and Angola have participated in
influence on global environmental and climate
two workshops held by Brazil and South Africa in the
change and their regional economic importance
process of formulating the Framework.1 Experts from
and potential. This is in strong contrast to the
Europe, with long-standing scientific links to South
North Atlantic, whose key economic importance
Atlantic research, also participated. Ultimately, it is
to countries in the northern hemisphere has long
hoped that the Framework will guide not only South-
underpinned its scientific exploration. Most recently,
South, but also South-North scientific cooperation.
the European Union, Canada and the United States
of America established the Atlantic Ocean Research The Framework outlines the importance of
Alliance for further investigation of the science and collaborative scientific exploration of these Southern
socio-economic role of the North Atlantic. oceans to the science of global environmental and
climate change, to understanding and enhancing
The South-South Framework for Scientific and
the oceans’ relationship to national and regional
Technical Cooperation in the South and Tropical
socio-economic development, to technological
Atlantic and the Southern Oceans constitutes a
development and innovation, and to the formulation
bilaterally agreed plan for scientific cooperation in
of policy for the region and the role of science
marine and oceanic research between South Africa
and Brazil. Although at this stage the Framework
has been agreed to only between the Department
of Science and Technology in South Africa and 1 The support of the European Union for these workshops is
the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations gratefully acknowledged.

A high-level scientific research agenda is then outlined, emphasising research in three main research themes,
supported by several specific focus areas, as follows:

Ecosystems Living and non-
Climate variability
variability and living resources, and
and change
controlling processes biodiversity
• Improved Earth system
• Biological production and
model predictions
biogeochemistry • Biodiversity
• Inter-ocean exchanges and
• Continent-shelf-ocean • Fisheries
large-scale circulation
continuum • Aquaculture
• Air-sea exchanges and
• Surface ocean-deep ocean • Marine biotechnology
links • Sea floor and biodiversity
• Climate models and
• Scales of ecosystem mapping
• Palaeo-evolution

Several cross-cutting imperatives are also identified, including human capital development, the development
and deployment of various platforms for data collection, and collaboration on relevant aspects of big data.
Table of contents
Synopsis 2
1. Background 4
2. Importance of the South and Tropical Atlantic and the Southern Oceans 4
2.1 Relationship to environmental and climate change 5
2.2 Relationship to socio-economic development 6
2.3 Technology development and innovation 7
2.4 Policy and science diplomacy 8
3. Context for South-South collaboration 8
4. Strategic purpose 9
5. Research and development focus 10
5.1 Thematic areas of collaboration 10
5.2 Coordination and networking 13
5.3 South-South Ocean Research Framework task team 13
5.4 Financing instruments 13
5.5 Communication and networking 13
5.6 Training, capacity building and exchange/science policy interactions 14
5.7 Expected results 14

Annex: Explanatory notes to the research themes table 14

1. Background and chemical contaminants, degrade the health of
coastal marine and estuarine ecosystems, and impair
The South and Tropical Atlantic and Southern Oceans the ability of ecosystems to support goods and
are changing in ways that directly affect the well- services.
being of society and the future of the Earth.
Oceans are becoming more acidic and model
The global and regional influences of these ocean projections suggest even greater acidity by the
bodies in the 21st century can be understood only end of this century. This is leading to changes in
through an integrated approach involving sustained, seawater carbonate chemistry and decreases in the
long-term observations and research, from the calcification rates of calcareous organisms. Lower
tropics to the high latitude polar systems, in fields calcification rates are resulting in the loss of coral reef
including oceanography, primary production, carbon habitats and decline in the abundance of plankton
dioxide and nutrient fluxes, deep-sea environments, species, both of which have profound effects on
trace elements, and climate impacts on biodiversity. the capacity of marine ecosystems to support living
The countries of the region face socio-economic marine resources.
challenges that require sound science to overcome. Southern nations must therefore undertake the
Excessive inputs from anthropogenic sources are now research needed to address these challenges,
widespread in coastal marine ecosystems. Domestic combining long-term observations aimed at a
sewage discharge, discarded plastic and agricultural better understanding of the biological, physical
waste, for example, lead to the destruction of and biogeochemical dynamics in the Southern
marine plants, fish and invertebrates, and the loss of Ocean-South Atlantic Ocean coupled system with
biologically structured habitats. an improved capacity to describe or represent these
Globally, exposure to infectious waterborne microbes in terms of parameters that can be used to model
in coastal waters via direct contact with and the improved century-scale predictions.
consumption of fish and shellfish are increasing
Collaboration will allow countries bordering the
as coastal waters warm, point and diffuse inputs
Atlantic Ocean to develop new technologies and
of faecal matter increase, and population density
intensify research that will improve their capacity to
grows along the coastline. Problems associated
forecast ocean events, and to respond appropriately.
with harmful algal blooms appear to be increasing
in severity and extent. Globally, more than 60 000 2. Importance of the South
cases of human illness caused by exposure to algal and Tropical Atlantic and
toxins are reported each year. Marine habitats are
the Southern Oceans
being destroyed at an alarming rate due to coastal
development, land-based inputs of sediments and The South Atlantic occupies a crucial place in terms
nutrients, aquaculture, overfishing, destructive of scientific, economic, environmental and strategic
fishing practices, channelisation, rising sea levels, interest. However, the area has historically been
ocean warming and ocean acidification. among the least studied of the planet, especially with
regard to ocean chemistry, ecology, biodiversity and
The effects of tropical cyclones, extratropical
the potential for a sustainable exploitation of natural
storms and tsunamis on coastal populations will
resources. Habitats, species, ecosystems, sources,
be exacerbated by climate-driven sea level rise and
sinks and internal cycling of carbon, micronutrients
the loss of ecological buffers to coastal flooding.
and contaminants are not well known and studies
Flooding and subsequent runoff events will increase
are mainly restricted to the margins of continents.
the risk of public exposure to waterborne pathogens
4 On these margins, marine species and ecosystems
have been depleted and fishing resources have been or southwards) and on continental regions, such as
overexploited. Mining of offshore oil and gas has north-eastern Brazil and the neighbouring Western
economic potential but holds environmental risks. Africa (Sahel) region, as well as on the formation of
More study is needed of cobalt-rich ferromanganese cyclones in the North Atlantic. The Agulhas Current,
crusts, polymetallic nodules and sulphide deposits which flows westward around the southern coast of
associated with seamounts, ridges and the abyssal South Africa, contributes strongly to the upper limb
plains as future sources of minerals essential to of the MOC northward flow in the Atlantic Ocean.
technological development. The same is true for
potentially valuable products that could be derived
from organisms living in these environments. It is vital
that we use these resources sustainably to conserve
oceanic environments for the future, but our ability
to do so is limited by our inadequate understanding
about main ecosystem processes in the South

2.1 Relationship to environmental
and climate change
The South Atlantic Ocean is unique in that it is the
only region in the world in which an eastern (the
Benguela) and a western (the Agulhas) boundary Source: Eos, Vol. 95, No. 6, 11 February 2014, which
system interact. The region south of Africa plays adapted the figure from R Zahn’s article “Climate
a significant role in the establishment of oceanic change: Beyond the CO2 connection”, published in
teleconnections: the salty Agulhas leakage reaches Nature, in 2009.
the northern hemisphere via a number of pathways,
The figure above gives a simplified schematic
and models suggest that changes occurring in
highlighting part of the Atlantic MOC – how currents
the oceans surrounding South Africa alter the
flow between the southern and northern Atlantic
global meridional overturning circulation (MOC).
Ocean. Blue lines refer to the pathway of the cold,
On the south-western basin of the Atlantic Ocean,
deep water masses formed in the northern Atlantic;
the Brazil-Malvinas Confluence is another area of
green lines correspond to the northward surface
strong mesoscale variability in which water mass
flow (including the Agulhas Current system south of
transformations occur. In this region, there is also
Africa). Agulhas rings (green circles) and their saline
exchange of heat and freshwater between the
influence into the eastern South Atlantic (green arcs)
subtropical Atlantic Ocean and the northern branch
are shown. The existing South Atlantic MOC Basin-
of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
wide Array along 34.5°S is shown as a solid red line
The section of the Atlantic that bridges South and and the proposed full transect is shown as a dashed
North is also important for understanding the Earth line. The Rapid Climate Change MOC and Heat Flux
system. A specific example is the Tropical Atlantic sea Array in the North Atlantic are also shown as a solid
surface temperature dipole, a cross-equatorial sea red line along 26.5°N.
surface temperature pattern that appears dominant
Regional ocean currents and land-ocean-atmospheric
on decadal timescales and is one of the key features
exchange are important factors influencing
in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean. Its variability has a
circulation dynamics, climate and precipitation in
direct impact on climate (through the displacement
of the Intertropical Convergence Zone northwards
the Atlantic Basin, and therefore affect society, land 5
use and fisheries, among other things. No single The South Atlantic Ocean, through the Southern
country has the capacity to observe and develop an Ocean, the MOC and the subtropical stratus system,
understanding of the links and climate sensitivities is a key part of the global climate system, having
of the coupled ocean-land-atmosphere system some of the most important ocean productivity
in the South Atlantic Ocean on its own. Regional and sink/source dynamics. Regional South-South
cooperation in this regard will deliver high value and cooperation can play a strong role and achieve global
long-lasting regional and global insight into climate impact on the development and outputs of Earth
and ecosystem sensitivity to global change. systems models, addressing their biases through a
combination of improved constraints from sustained
It is also known that ocean-atmosphere interactions
observations, as well as well considered integrated
are vital to predict the evolution of planetary-scale
experiments that improve model parameterisation.
phenomena, such as the semi-decadal El Niño-
Southern Oscillation and the Southern Annular Mode, Part of this system is the Southern Ocean, which
which influence the South Atlantic and regional plays not only a major role in supplying nutrients
climate and weather. These large-scale atmospheric to the Atlantic, but also influencing global ocean
phenomena arise from the interaction of the ocean circulation, dynamics and sea-air fluxes, gradually
and ocean ice system with the atmosphere, and all increasing primary productivity through the supply
have as yet unknown sensitivities to global change. of iron, and the uptake of anthropogenic carbon
Knowledge and spatial-temporal data gaps at the dioxide and excess heat, with a high impact on global
scale of the South Atlantic Basin are at the core climate.
of many of the model biases that challenge the
2.2 Relationship to socio-
robustness of century-scale prediction by Earth
systems models. economic development
Marine ecosystems of the South Atlantic and
It is also essential to understand how oceans behaved
Southern Oceans are subject to a range of external
in the geologic past in relation to climate variables
pressures, with resulting impacts of climate change,
(palaeoceanography), allowing the reconstruction
pollution (including acidification), fishing, mining
of past climate at various intervals and building
and coastal eutrophication. These impacts vary in
scenarios from identified trends that will facilitate
intensity across coastal and shelf waters to the open
better forecasting in the present.
ocean and seabed. Changes already have been
At present, efforts to understand and predict observed in parts of the South Atlantic environment
climate trends in the ocean and its ecosystems, and in some communities of marine organisms.
and the influence of ocean on these climate trends, More changes are expected as complex interactions
is being done through increasingly complex, fully and pressures result in adjustments to community
coupled Earth systems and ecosystem models. composition and biodiversity, from the smallest
However, these models are still vulnerable to microbes to commercial fish species and well-known
biases that reflect limitations in their resolution and top predators. Such changes in biodiversity will feed
process parameterisation, with the understanding back into the Earth system, affecting biogeochemical
of the ocean component being a source of such cycles, the sustainable use of marine resources and
uncertainties. Model biases impact on their ability the health of marine ecosystems. Both remote and
to provide robust decadal and century-scale climate local pressures play a role in these changes and it
predictions, and an understanding of ocean feedback is necessary to consider local, regional and basin-
to the climate system. Addressing these biases is wide factors to understand, predict and adapt to the
critical to improved and robust climate prediction. consequences of change.
Capture fisheries and aquaculture are provisioning this transformation in observations are autonomous
services closely linked to the magnitude and stability platforms, which include the now well-established
of coastal and oceanic ecosystem processes in the Argo floats, wave gliders, buoyancy gliders, sail drones,
Tropical and South Atlantic. These processes, active moored buoys and new emerging microgliders.
on different spatial scales, have sustained annual These provide ocean sciences with continuous
catches of about 8 million tonnes, most of them in observations of the ocean, from the surface to high
association with particularly productive ecosystems depths, advancing our understanding of ocean-
in the Benguela upwelling zone and the Patagonian climate dynamics, climate-linked trends and the
Shelf, and oceanic equatorial and subtropical vulnerability of ecosystems, thus supporting stronger
confluence zone waters, where important catches of ocean governance. Moreover, the development
tuna and billfishes concentrate. Large-scale fishing of sensors and electronic components for these
in these areas sustains seafood consumption in the platforms leads to further innovation. The influence
EU and North America, making South American of advances in biosensors, including optics, acoustics
and south-west African countries net exporters to and automatic genome sequencing and monitoring
the northern hemisphere. Small-scale fishing in less sensors has scaled up the possibilities of research.
productive but diverse coastal regions of the tropical
Marine biotechnology, which involves marine
South Atlantic may be critical to regional food
bioresources, as either the source or the target of
security. Combined capture fishing and aquaculture
biotechnology applications, is fast becoming an
have supplied five to 10 kg of fish per capita annually
important component of the global biotechnology
in south-west Atlantic countries and South Africa, and
sector in support of food and health security. It
twice as much (10 to 20 kg) in Namibia and Angola,
is essential to satisfy the growing demand for
where it represents more than 20% of daily animal
healthy products from fisheries and aquaculture
protein supply. Aquaculture production is modest
in a sustainable way. This will require significant
compared with other regions of the planet, but is
contributions to increasing production efficiency and
rapidly expanding. With the growing demands for
product quality, to the introduction of new species
fish products and the associated stable production
for intensive cultivation, and to the development of
from capture fisheries, aquaculture production must
sustainable practices through a better understanding
grow to meet future demand. At the same time,
of the molecular and physiological basis for
aquaculture-based enhancement technologies need
reproduction, development and growth. Improved
to be developed to restore and sustain declining
control of these processes will also be required.
fisheries. The efficiency and sustainability of existing
Marine-derived biomaterials science is still relatively
production systems need to be improved. This can
new and the marine environment is, as yet, a
be achieved by optimising production and breeding
relatively untapped resource for the discovery of new
technologies, improving nutrition and health, and
enzymes, biopolymers and biomaterials for industrial
expanding marine aquaculture activities, while
applications. The marine realm contains a rich variety
increasing the sustainable use of native species. of organisms, exposed to a series of environments
2.3 Technology development and and pressures, many of which remain undescribed.
innovation Because of their high biological diversity, marine
ecosystems are particularly suited for bioprospecting,
Ocean robotics and biotechnology are driving
a process that aims to identify and isolate natural
unprecedented change in our capacity to observe
compounds from genetic material. Today, about
and understand climate, ecosystem management,
18 000 natural products have been reported from
food security and human health, and to derive
marine organisms belonging to about 4 800 named
economic benefits from this knowledge. Leading 7
A strong ocean technology innovation and transfer Southern Ocean, South Atlantic nations will be
system is built on a well-considered, sustained ocean able to strengthen their individual and collective
observatory, spanning the needs of ocean physics, abilities to influence relevant policy development
bio-optics, submarine acoustics, biogeochemistry, in the region and globally. Regional cooperation
ecosystem governance, food security and human will support development efforts and help South
health. Investments in these fields create critical Atlantic nations build common views, through the
mass in research and development in engineering development of coordinated and joint initiatives for
and biotechnology, stimulating innovation. the South Atlantic. This collaboration will contribute
Large-scale regional cooperation such as across to increasing the status of the South Atlantic as
the South Atlantic will be critical for scaling up a source of scientific knowledge and its nations
innovation drivers through the needs and demand as relevant international partners. The synergies
for technological products that they create. The developed through this large-scale platform will also
co-development of these technologies will be an support a science and engineering-led development
additional benefit from a regional South Atlantic drive that could support regional economies to
cooperation, allowing technology transfer related to reduce their dependencies on living and non-living
processes and products. resource extraction.

2.4 Policy and science diplomacy 3. Context for South-South
Building a strong scientific and technological collaboration
relationship among countries has many benefits. The It is recognised that the conservation of marine
Antarctic Treaty is a good example. Open scientific resources and the economic use of the oceans
research and international collaboration has grown both depend on advancing the knowledge of
knowledge, built research capacity and provided current and future generations. This has motivated
Treaty partners with information to make informed an international “race” in science and technology,
policy decisions for over 50 years. particularly in areas beyond national jurisdiction,
There are many partnerships in which science plays a in order to ensure future opportunities for the
key role in influencing policy considerations related environmentally sustainable production of goods
to the use of the oceans. For instance, under the considered essential to the future of humankind.
Benguela Current Commission, South Africa, Namibia As a consequence, several initiatives have started
and Angola use scientific evidence to enable joint to fill in the knowledge gaps in the region. These
sustainable ecosystem-based ocean resource include ocean observations, scientific cruises and
management. The United Nations established the the deployment of equipment. There are currently
Intergovernmental Oceans Commission to promote various collaborative initiatives in the South Atlantic.
international cooperation and to coordinate Programmes such as PIRATA2, SAMOC3, SA MAR-
programmes in research, services and capacity- ECO4, GEOTRACES5, SOLAS6, OTN7, ICEMASA8 and
building in order to learn more about the nature 2 Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Atlantic
and resources of the ocean and coastal areas and 3 South Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
to apply that knowledge for the improvement 4 South Atlantic Patterns and Processes of the Ecosystems of the
of management, sustainable development, the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge
5 An International Study of Marine Biogeochemical Cycles of
protection of the marine environment, and the
Trace Elements and their Isotopes
decision-making processes of member states.
6 Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study
By working together technically and scientifically 7 Ocean Tracking Network

8 on the South Atlantic, the Tropical Atlantic and the 8 International Centre for Education, Marine and Atmospheric
Sciences over Africa
BCLME9, among others, have proven to be highly Historical science partners from the North Atlantic
successful, and have seen the establishment of long- (the USA, the EU and Canada) have made progress
term monitoring arrays across both the South and in setting a scientific agenda through the Atlantic
Tropical sectors of the Atlantic Ocean, enhanced Ocean Research Alliance. This agenda would not be
use of numerical models, and the exchange of complete without a large-scale overview, including a
postgraduate students and emerging researchers. focus on understanding the Atlantic Ocean through
These programmes are broad in scope and coverage. both basin and inter-basin connectivity. In this
The research on the South Atlantic has focused on context, the Atlantic research communities face the
the long-term monitoring of physical, chemical, challenge of coordinating their work with efforts
geological and biological processes that affect and to study the Atlantic Ocean as a whole, bridging
are affected by human activities, the atmosphere and observational systems, exchanging data, researchers
land, with some interest in the shelf and deep ocean. and equipment East to West and South to North. The
South-South Framework for Scientific and Technical
Any research in the South Atlantic needs to incorporate
Cooperation in the South and Tropical Atlantic and
the adjacent ocean basins. The Southern Ocean has a
the Southern Oceans is intended to address and
significant influence and forms a critical link on the
build-on current collaborative research programmes
atmospheric and oceanographic characteristics of
between Southern countries, and in alignment with
the South Atlantic Ocean, particularly the carbon
Northern countries, with the aim of developing basin-
drawdown and iron chemistry that influences the
scale ocean science and technology development,
climate and weather. Changes to Southern Ocean
enhancing human capacity, strengthening ongoing
ecosystems have consequences for the global carbon
projects, and identifying potential activities and
cycle, for the sustainable exploitation of fisheries
opportunities for further development within this
resources and for the conservation of threatened
marine species. Scientific research under this theme cooperation.
is helping scientists understand the impact of global 4. Strategic purpose
change on Southern Ocean ecosystems, on the
effective conservation of Antarctic and Southern The Framework is intended to promote scientific
Ocean wildlife, and on the sustainable, ecosystem- cooperation and capacity building among South
based management of Southern Ocean fisheries. Atlantic countries, and the exchange of expertise in
and knowledge of ocean science and technology for
South-South cooperation in this space would address the environmental and socio-economic benefits of
high-profile scientific questions that could provide these countries.
relevant information to address national priorities as
well as lead to opportunities to play an active role in The collaboration will address national and global
the global sphere. A good example of this partnership knowledge gaps towards meeting obligations
is ZOPACAS10, established in 1986 by countries in under international agreements like the United
South America and Africa sharing the South Atlantic Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the
Ocean as a platform for fostering understanding and Convention on Biodiversity, and achieving the goals
regional cooperation. The research efforts carried of the Food and Agricultural Organization and the
out under the scope of the India-Brazil-South Africa International Whaling Commission.
grouping, for example, have devoted considerable To enhance the knowledge needed to learn from the
energy to establishing overlapping interests, and past, understand the present and predict the future
oceans are a key element in the cooperative research. states of the ocean and the climate, a large amount
of data, and resources and a great many scientists will
9 Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem
be needed. 9
10 The Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic
Sustained observations are the core of all long- 5. Research and
term research questions aimed at understanding
development focus11
climate and ecosystem productivity and biodiversity
sensitivities to global change. However, although Our understanding of the ocean has become
the benefits are great and long lasting, the costs of increasingly based on quantitative analysis, with
building research and development infrastructures observations being augmented by measurements of
and sustaining observations at the required inter- seawater properties and by a greater understanding
basin scales are significant and mostly beyond the of physical, biological, chemical and geological
scope of individual country’s resources. Collaboration processes. Marine science is an applied and cross-
among countries (South-South and South-North) disciplinary field, and marine scientists need for
is therefore essential. This will not only optimise a sound understanding of the basic principles
results by reducing direct costs, but also facilitate of mathematics, biology, physics, geology and
cooperative career development, training and chemistry. They also need to be highly numerate to
capacity building. analyse and interpret the expanding observational
and modelling datasets that now exist.
In addition to supporting domestic and regional
development efforts, regional scientific and technical This document further highlights the importance of
cooperation can also contribute to the greater working at the science-policy interface to address
economic, political and diplomatic alignment of current global challenges in the Tropical and South
South Atlantic nations, through the development Atlantic Ocean, and Southern Ocean. The exchange
of common and joint imperatives for the South and of ideas between policy officials and scientific
Tropical Atlantic and the Southern Oceans. researchers is important if national/regional science
plans are to be aligned to achieve mutually agreed
It is the intention of this cooperation framework to
position South Atlantic Ocean countries as global focal
points leading joint and individual South and Tropical 5.1 Thematic areas of
Atlantic and the Southern Oceans observational and collaboration
research endeavours. This document is intended
To understand and predict the role of the South
to provide a strategic approach that will help
Atlantic Ocean System in the regional climate and
collaborating governments and the relevant research
global Earth system there are three areas that offer
communities to identify and address common issues
enormous potential for a regional science and
such as ocean science, technological development
technology collaboration to address Earth systems
and innovation, ocean observations and monitoring
model biases and support resilience in ecosystem
programmes, the ecosystem-based management
management. The Framework therefore makes these
of resources, improved ocean numerical models,
areas its main scientific themes, shown as columns
and the co-development and transfer of ocean
in the table below, all based on a foundation
technology, to enhance knowledge in and for the
of interoperable ocean-observing systems in
region. collaborating countries.
11 The scientific content of this framework has been informed
by two workshops aimed at identifying joint research
priorities. The workshops involved scientific and governmental
representatives from Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay,
Namibia and Angola. One was held in Brasilia in October
2015 and another in Pretoria in January 2017. Researchers and

10 officials from the EU and its member states also attended these
In addition to the themes and the foundational mutual access to research infrastructure, technology
support of the ocean-observing systems, there is development, innovation and science-policy
also a horizontal, cross-cutting focus on a series interaction components.
of research and development areas common to
The table below presents a summary of the areas for
all themes. These cross-cutters include research
collaboration. More detail can be found in the Annex.
training, capacity development, scientific exchange,

Ecosystems variability Living and non-
Climate variability and
and controlling living resources, and
processes biodiversity
• Improved Earth system
• Biological production and
model predictions
biogeochemistry • Biodiversity
• Inter-ocean exchanges and
• Continent-shelf-ocean • Fisheries
large-scale circulation
continuum • Aquaculture
• Air-sea exchanges and
• Surface ocean-deep ocean • Marine biotechnology
links • Sea floor and biodiversity
• Climate models and
• Scales of ecosystem mapping
• Palaeo-evolution

Cross-cutting themes (common to all areas above)
• Ocean observing systems (maintenance, expansion and enhancement)
• Basin-scale ocean modelling, with regional nesting
• Animal-based observations
• Technology innovation platforms
• Technology development and transfer
• Autonomous vehicles and moored platforms
• Remote sensing for climate and ecosystem variability and trends
• Cross-Atlantic oceanographic monitoring hydrographic lines (possible contribution to GO-Ship1 repeat
• Trace elements and their isotopes
• List of instruments and infrastructure available for ocean science
• Sharing research infrastructures, including ship time
• Data management and cloud platforms
• Research training, capacity development and scientific exchange
• Human capital development and training through a wide range of opportunities, e.g. SEAmester
• Training and capacity building in scientific cruises (floating universities)
• Regular South Atlantic scientific conferences

The specific issues below were highlighted for attention under each theme:

Climate variability and change on ships of opportunity (commercial and
research vessels).
• Ensure adequacy of the observing systems in
scales of variability and long-term trends. • Adopt international standards for deep ocean
and shelf observing systems (guidelines
• Assess the adequacy of existing observations for procedures, data quality control and
(SAMBA12, PIRATA, MOVAR13, GoodHope, measurements and policies for data
ASCA14, Benguela, among others) and management).
optimise additional requirements in long-term
observations. • Define and adopt key set of common
ecosystem indicators.
• Develop an integrated South Atlantic and
Southern Oceans observing system (common • Combine data from similar equipped
platforms). instruments and platforms.

• Establish a data open access and sharing policy. • Seek ways to foster concurrent cruise
opportunities across the South Atlantic and
• Standardise methods between southern and Southern Ocean.
northern countries on trace elements and
their isotopes promoting ultra-clean sampling, • Expand development and sharing of end-to-
analysis and data control and assurance. end ecosystem models.

• Enhance the network of meteorological Living and non-living
stations and sea-level gauges resources, and biodiversity
• Promote the sharing of research infrastructure • Standardise methods between Southern
(e.g. high performance computing, countries (and Northern, where appropriate).
autonomous vehicles and ships).
• Establish data protocols (follow up standardise
• Support the development of fully coupled methods) and put data sharing and
global and regional Earth system models. management agreements in place.
• Establish a mechanism that will allow an • Foster or develop data repositories for fisheries
extension of the SAMBA line (SAMOC) from and biodiversity (e.g. OBIS15, SiBBR16, GBIF17).
west to east.
• Add biodiversity and fisheries censuses and
Ecosystem variability and improved ship-based benthic mapping during
controlling processes maintenance cruises of existing arrays (e.g.
• Ensure that observing systems are able to
resolve the required scales of variability and • Increase aquaculture production and
long-term trends. sustainability and identify new species.

• Promote joint experimental initiatives using • Develop an ecosystem based approach
multiplatform approaches (e.g. ships, gliders, protocol to management.
satellites and acoustics).
• Identify, develop and implement marine
• Strengthen the use of underway observations 15 Ocean Biogeographic Information System
12 South Atlantic MOC Basin-wide Array 16 Sistema de Informação sobre a Biodiversidade Brasileira (the
13 Monitoring the Upper Ocean Thermal Information System on Brazilian Biodiversity)
14 The Agulhas System Climate Array 17 Global Biodiversity Information Facility
biotechnology initiatives. • Promoting platforms for research capacity
development and human capital development.
• Seek better ways of involving the private sector
in biotechnology research. • Identifying measures of success.

• Support the research and monitoring actions The group is intended to work mostly via electronic
of the South Atlantic Whales Sanctuary communication, but will meet face-to-face when
Management Plan18. necessary.
5.2 Coordination and networking 5.4 Financing instruments
Ocean science is an expensive and collaborative field The initial point of departure is to build on the existing
of research and it is therefore necessary to find the national funding instruments and, where applicable,
projects that the scientific community want to work optimise the use of existing cooperation platforms to
on collaboratively, identify special opportunities enhance South and Tropical Atlantic and Southern
to work together and share resources. With this Oceans research. The application of optimising
framework, South Africa and Brazil have agreed to co-funding opportunities and competitive access
work on common priorities and cross-cutting issues to the existing North-South cooperation funding
that it is hoped will in due course underpin broader instruments would also be investigated. For
collaboration on a South-South and South-North example, opportunities offered by the European
basis. Brazil and South Africa also agree that this Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme should
initiative is open to all South Atlantic countries willing be explored to enhance collaborative research
to participate and cooperate. participation, potential and leadership in open calls,
and to promote the inclusion North-South Atlantic
5.3 Framework task team
Ocean Research Collaboration as a core theme.
South Africa and Brazil will appoint relevant
government officials and representatives of the 5.5 Communication and
marine and oceanic scientific community to a task networking
team charged with giving effect to the intended It is essential to establish a communication
cooperation. The role of the task team, will include mechanism in which nations can share information
the following: on the instruments and available projects; the needs
• Establishing coordination mechanisms and of researchers and policy makers in terms of logistics,
frameworks. finances and training; key areas in which researchers
have been working; knowledge gaps identified; and
• Holding necessary meetings, conferences or the research infrastructure available in the South
similar technical events. Atlantic. The aim is to develop a common platform
• Establishing monitoring instruments to for mapping research landscapes across the South
evaluate products and outcomes. Atlantic, sharing challenges, opportunities and best
practices among countries.
• Providing necessary information and
establishing communication platforms.

• Communicating about and coordinating
access to available research platforms.
18 The South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary Management Plan is part
of the South Atlantic Whales Sanctuary proposed by Argentina,
Brazil, Gabon and South Africa to the International Whaling
5.6 Training, capacity building Annex: Explanatory notes to
and exchange/science policy the research themes table
This section outlines in more detail examples
Actions towards the achievements of these goals of specific projects that could be established to
encompass the following: promote joint research under the overall thematic
• Summer schools for graduate students. priorities listed in par. 5.1.

• Training courses for specific key subjects Climate variability and change
(e.g. oceanographic instrumentation, data
• Addresses acknowledged biases in current
quality control and management, bioassays,
climate models with respect to the tropical
aquaculture techniques, stock assessment,
Atlantic and eastern boundary upwelling
carbon dioxide and carbon analytical chemistry,
ecosystems (temperature).
• Linkages and transport between the Indian and
• Intercalibration exercises following
Atlantic Oceans.
international standard protocols for chemical
analytical measurements. • Heat, carbon dioxide and oxygen exchanges,
transport and storage; role of the MOC;
• Ship-based training through South Africa’s
exchanges between Indian and Atlantic;
Oceans Economy Operation Phakisa (e.g. South
processes in the Southern Ocean; interactions
Africa’s SEAmester postgraduate programme).
between the Tropical Atlantic and South
• Academic exchange (visiting professorships, Atlantic; ventilation of the S Atlantic.
mini-sabbaticals, student mobility, joint
• Links between changes in the tropical Atlantic
degrees, etc.).
and climate over both South America and
• Postgraduate and postdoctoral fellowship southern Africa; teleconnections.
• Increased understanding of palaeo-evolution in
• Research coordination and funding. the South Atlantic and Southern Ocean.

5.7 Expected results Ecosystems variability and
The following results are expected: controlling processes
• Coordinated research endeavours producing • Understanding the forcing factors (light, mixing,
cooperative results to benefit society. macronutrients and micronutrients) for primary
production (and ultimately secondary and
• Better prediction and forecasts of ocean events.
tertiary production) in different ecosystems of
• Improved sustainable management of marine the South Atlantic and variability and change.
• Horizontal exchanges between the land and
• Provision of regional views based on the best shelf (including freshwater inputs, nutrients,
scientific knowledge available. etc.) and the shelf and open ocean; seeing the
South Atlantic as a continuum across these
• Strengthened bilateral and regional scientific
different systems.
and technical relations.
• Linkages between the surface and deep ocean,
• Joint development of ocean technologies, of
14 including the biological carbon pump.
new value chains and products.
• The roles of mesoscale and sub-mesoscale • Equipment to be purchased if necessary.
processes on biogeochemistry and ecosystem
• Needs list in sailing orders.
productivity, including the dynamic processes
occurring in the “Cape Cauldron” area and off • Berths for exchange scientists/students.
the Brazilian shelf under the influence of the
• Review biological sensors on arrays and
western boundary currents (Agulhas, Brazil and
add if necessary.
Malvinas); temporal and spatial scale sensitivity
of ecosystem dynamics, (meso and sub-meso) • Increase aquaculture production and
shelf systems, and the role of Agulhas eddies in sustainability, and identify new species.
transport and production of biota. • Convene workshops to further discuss research
priorities and establish smaller working groups
Living and non-living resources
to develop plans round each.
and biodiversity theme
• Develop ecosystem-based approach to
• Standardise methods on data collection
between Southern (and Northern where
appropriate) nations through the following: • Identify, develop and implement marine
biotechnology initiatives.
• Establish a task team to review nation
methods and make recommendations • Identify genetic resources.
regarding standardisation.
• Capacitate research vessels to perform
• Review papers following workshop genetic work.
meetings funded under binational
• Identify priority areas in each region based
on existing capacity.
• North-South workshopping to standardise
• Strengthen existing research infrastructure
methods and promote capacity building
(e.g. computation facilities).
in area of seafloor and habitat mapping.
• Form partnerships with Northern
• Establish data protocols (follow up standardise
countries that have already optimised
methods) and put data sharing and
industrial pipelines.
management agreements in place (we can try);
consolidate with next point and add cloud. Footnotes

• Foster or develop data repositories for fisheries 1 The Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations

and biodiversity (e.g. OBIS, SiBBR and GBIF). Programme.

• During cruises for the maintenance of existing
arrays (e.g. SAMBA and PIRATA) add biodiversity
and fisheries censuses, and improved ship-
based benthic mapping.

• Establish a list of what we all want to

• Establish a list of what can be measured by
different research vessels.