Biological Oceanography is the study of life in the oceans- the distribution, abundance, adaptation and production of marine species along with inter and intra relationship (processes) that govern species' spread, development and coping to the environment. Biological oceanography mainly focuses on marine organisms their morphology, life cycle, diversity, nutritional sources, motility, and metabolism, productivity and role in global carbon cycle, etc. The Biological Oceanography Division (BOD) is implementing the mandate of BORI Act 2015. This division is engaged in exploring biological resources of the Bay of Bengal as a part of baseline study through Research and Development (R&D) projects. The division is working to find potential commercial seaweeds around the Saint Martin’s Island, evaluating occurrence, distribution and diversity of phytoplankton & zooplankton in the Bay of Bengal.
· Seaweed Study: The Seaweed Research Team (SRT) of BOD is studying taxonomic variability and distribution of seaweeds around St. Martin’s Island.
· Plankton Diversity Study: A total of 220 phytoplankton taxa from nine divisions, 109 taxa of zooplankton from 24 major groups and 53 Ichthyoplankton are identified from BOD.
· Supervise MSc thesis: So far 3 students completed their MSc thesis research under the supervision and laboratory support of BOD.
· Dr. Fridtjof Nansen Research cruise survey: Scientist from BOD participated in Dr. Fridtjof Nansen Research cruise across the whole BoB survey and contributed in the CTD and Plankton Laboratory.
· Collaboration with Research Institute and Universities: BOD is doing collaborative research on Seaweed
Biochemical composition study with BCSIR, seaweed genetic diversity study with NIB, seaweed Barcode study with Department of Fisheries-BSMRAU, seaweed study and mari-culture with BFRI, and seaweed Study with Institute of Marine Sciences and Fisheries- University of Chittagong.
Primary Productivity: Primary productivity is the rate at which atmospheric or aqueous carbon dioxide is converted by autotrophs (primary producers) to organic material. Primary production via photosynthesis is a key process within the ecosystem, as the producers form the base of the entire food web, both on land and in the oceans. The oceans play a significant role in global carbon budgets via photosynthesis. Approximately half of all global net annual photosynthesis occurs in the oceans, with ~10-15% of production occurring on the continental shelves alone (Müller-Karger et al. 2005).
Phytoplankton: Derived from the Greek words phyto (plant) and plankton (made to wander or drift), phytoplanktons are microscopic organisms that live in watery environments, both salty & fresh. Like land plants, phytoplankton have chlorophyll to capture sunlight, & they use photosynthesis to turn it into chemical energy. They consume CO2 & release oxygen.
Zooplankton: The word zooplankton is derived from the Greek zoon meaning "animal", and plankton meaning "wanderer" or "drifter". Individual zooplanktons are usually microscopic, but some (such as jellyfish) are larger and visible to the naked eye.
Seaweed: Seaweed or macro algae refer to several species of macroscopic and multi-cellular marine algae.
Seagrass: Seagrasses are flowering plants which grow in marine environments, despite their name,
seagrass are actually not ‘grasses’ at all, as they do flower.
Difference between Seagrass and Seaweed: Seagrass can easily be confused with marine macroalgae or seaweed but there are many important differences between the two. While seagrasses are considered vascular plants and has roots, stems and leaves, seaweed are multicellular algae and have little or no vascular tissues. The two differ in reproduction, structure, and how they transport nutrients and dissolved gases. The table and diagram below illustrate some of these distinctions.
Maximum Sustainable Yield: The sustainable yield of natural capital is the ecological yield that can be extracted without reducing the base of capital itself, i.e. the surplus required to maintain ecosystem services at the same or increasing level over time. This yield usually varies over time with the needs of the ecosystem to maintain itself, e.g. a forest that has recently suffered blight or flooding or fire will require more of its own ecological yield to sustain and re-establish a mature forest. While doing so, the sustainable yield may be much less. In fisheries, the basic natural capital, or virgin population, must decrease with extraction. At the same time productivity increases. Hence, sustainable yield would be within the range in which the natural capital together with its production is able to provide satisfactory yield. It may be very difficult to quantify sustainable yield, because dynamic ecological conditions and other factors not related to harvesting induce changes and fluctuations in both the natural capital and its productivity.
Blue Economy and Biological Resources: Bangladesh has vast coastal and marine resources along its south edge. Due to the geographical position and climatic condition, the coastal area of the country is known as one of the highly productive areas of the world. Bangladesh is rich not only in terms of its vast water areas but also in terms of the biological diversity. One of the unique features of the coastal areas is the influence of the mangrove forests, which support a high number of fishes and other commercially important aquatic organisms. Bangladesh formed by a delta plain at the confluence of the several trans-boundary mighty rivers, in usually characterized by its typical geographical settings, the Himalayan range in the North and the Bay of Bengal in the South. These two unique features historically shaped formation of major habitats and human habitation, social-economic structures, development priorities and, often, the basis of relationship and diplomacy with the neighbors and other south Asian countries.
Country’s 710 km long coast line extending from the tip of St. Martin’s Island in the southeast to the west coast of Satkhira and 121,110 km2 sea area are characterized with uniquely differentiated ecosystems having significant ecological and economic importance and potential. There will be a human flow to the southern part of Bangladesh due to blue economic zone development. It will create employment opportunities and other income-generating activities, develop other social services, security services as well as the overall standard of life for the local people at coastal areas. Sector wise emphases are given below:
Fishery: A large number of commercially important fishes have long been exploited which are of high export values. Shrimp Mariculture has become a highly traded export-oriented industry now-a-days. In spite of having bright prospects, marine Mariculture on a commercial basis as well as marine stock80 enhancement and sea ranching are yet to be developed. The marine fisheries sector has been suffering from chronic disintegration and mismanagement that have led to many consequences. Most of the commercially important fish stocks are either over-exploited or under threat. Marine pollution has reached a level that could create an unmanageable situation in the near future; coastal shrimp farming has generated considerable debates due to its adverse environmental and socio-economic impacts. Fishing activities will continue to represent a large part of economic and food output for many developing countries. As demand for fish continues to grow, Bangladesh needs to explore options to keep benefiting from this activity while ensuring sustainable management of stocks too.
Coastal aquaculture and Mariculture: Coastal aquaculture and Mariculture offers huge potential for the provision of food and livelihoods, though greater efficiency in provision of feed to coastal aquaculture and maricultureneed to be realized, including reduced fish protein and oil and increased plant protein content, if the industry is to be sustainable. Mariculture under the Blue Economy will incorporate the value of the natural capital in its development, respecting ecological parameters throughout the cycle of production, creating sustainable, decent employment and offering high value commodities for export.
Coastal aquaculture and Mariculture is the fastest growing global food sector now providing 47% of the fish for human consumption. As the demand for fish continues to grow and the availability of wild-capture fish decreases, there will be a greater role for mariculture to augment the wild capture supply and ensure that wild stocks for Bangladesh.
Food Security: One billion people in developing countries like Bangladesh depend on seafood for their primary source of protein. Besides this all around the globe, a lot of people like seafood. Oceans can be the biggest sources for food for all the developing countries and may help to meet the challenges of food security issue too.
Biotechnology and Medical Technology: The global market for marine biotechnology products and processes is currently estimated at US $ 2.8 billion and projected to grow to around US$ 4.6 billion by 2017. Marine bio-tech has the potential to address a suite of global challenges such as sustainable food supplies, human health, energy security and environmental remediation. Marine bacteria are a rich source of potential drugs it is also known as probiotic. In 2011 there were over 36 marine derived drugs in clinical development, including 15 for the treatment of cancer. One area where marine bio-tech may make a critical contribution is the development of new antibiotics. The potential scope is enormous; by 2006 more than 14,000 novel chemicals had been identified by marine bio-prospecting and 300 patents registered on marine natural products. On the energy front algal bio-fuels offer promising prospects. The European science Foundation postulates a production volume of 20-80 thousand liters of oil per hectare per year can be achieved from micro algal culture, with even the lower part of this range being considerably higher than terrestrial bio-fuel crops.
Blue Economic Zone of Bangladesh: World Bank (2014) reported that middle-income economies are those with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of more than US$ 1045 but less than US$ 12,746.
Bangladesh was found in lower-middle-income country category in the year 2014, as it achieved US$
1080.00 Which was only US$ 958 in the year 2013. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) published that theper capita income in Bangladesh rose from $ 1190 to $ 1314 on May 14, 2015.
Gimenez, et al. (2014) stated that the vision 2021 plan and the associated perspective plan 2010-2021, adopted by the Government of Bangladesh lay out a series of development targets for 2021. Among the core targets identified to monitor the progress toward the vision 2021 objectives is that of attaining a poverty headcount of 14 percent by 2021. The rate of poverty headcount was about 28.5 percent by 2015, which significantly ahead of scheduled at Millennium Development Goal (MDG). Attaining the vision 2021 poverty target of 14 percent by 2021, however, is less certain as it requires a GDP growth of at least 8 percent, or more than 2 percentage points higher than that observed in recent years. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (2016) records, GDP in Bangladesh was 7.11% in FY: 2015-2016 at Bangladesh and estimated to be increased at 7.20 in 2017 (BBS, 2016). So, the trend is positive, and if Bangladesh cannot utilize all the possible scopes as exporting sectors, marine resources, it may not be possible to become a Middle Income Country within the expected year by 2021. Bangladesh has an aim to graduate from the Least Development Country (LDC) status to that of a middle income country by 2021 as per the United Nations’ classification. In this context, it is very important to assess the capacity of the country’s social infrastructure in achieving the desired level of economic growth rate and subsequently the targeted per capita income level. Bangladesh can develop port facility, capacity as well as increase in numbers too. Having more ports & developing the existing ports will be lower operating costs, even from the higher sized of vessels too. Including tourism all the scopes can help to attend the goals accordingly.