UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology has played an integral role in establishing the national Bay of Bengal Coastal Ocean Observatory in India. This month the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bhubaneswar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in New Delhi with India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences (MOES) to establish the Bay of Bengal Coastal Ocean Observatory in Odisha. SMAST Professor Avijit Gangopadhyay, who was part of the team that developed the partnership with IIT Bhubaneswar, was on hand for the signing of the MOU.
“This agreement is a tremendous opportunity that will continue to create collaborative research opportunities for SMAST and our partner institutions with the entire oceanographic community in India,” SMAST Dean Dr. Steven Lohrenz said. “We are grateful for the work of Professor Gangopadhyay who has played a key role in making this partnership a reality. His knowledge and experience during his time in India has been of great benefit to SMAST students, faculty, and the greater marine science community.”
The MOU is a significant step toward building understanding of air‐sea‐land interactions, prediction of extreme events, marine seismology and sea‐level rise due to climate change and ocean acidification. The observatory will used to monitor ocean, earth and climatic parameters and systems. It is the first of its kind agreement for India and the east coast of the Bay of Bengal. The observational data collected by the observatory will be useful to researchers in understanding the ocean, earth and climatic interactions which will further help in climate predictions.
Dr. Gangopadhyay was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2013 and spent six months in India researching currents in the Bayof the Bengal, while also teaching and building new collaborative relationships between the University and Indian universities. The research of the Bay of Bengal provided Professor Gangopadhyay a chance to chart one of the world's least-studied oceans and one which directly affects a billion people living on its shores.
Professor Gangopadhyay, an internationally renowned figure in oceanography and modeling, taught a course on Ocean Circulation and Modeling, which he developed at SMAST, to graduate students at the Indian Institutes of Technology at Bhubaneswar and Kharagpur. He also led an intensive, two-year pilot program that he designed with Indian and American colleagues from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) , University of Rhode Island (URI) and Rutgers University as part of an intensive project researching the currents in the Bay. At the time India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences stated that the country needed to quadruple the number of ocean scientists working in the country. In the past decade alone, Professor Gangopadhyay helped to build the Center for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land Science (CORAL) at IIT Kharagpur, as well as IIT Bhubaneswar's School for Earth Ocean and Climate Sciences and their new Innovative Center for Climate Change.
Dr. Gangopadhyay was also the PhD advisor to Ana Paula Krelling, who successfully defended her PhD in March to become the first UMass Dartmouth-University of São Paulo Institute of Oceanography (IOUSP) dual-degree PhD graduate. Professor Ilson Silveira from IOUSP was her advisor from USP. The dual degree program was initially established through an MOU signed in December 2011.
The focus at SMAST is on interdisciplinary basic-to-applied marine sciences and the development of related innovative technologies. In addition to the scholarly marine science and technology communities, the SMAST mission also emphasizes interaction with regional industry, and government and non-governmental agencies on compelling regional marine-related issues and technological development.
UMass Dartmouth distinguishes itself as a vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative research, and acting as an intellectual catalyst for regional economic, social, and cultural development. UMass Dartmouth's mandate to serve its community is realized through countless partnerships, programs, and other outreach efforts to engage the community, and apply its knowledge to help address local issues and empower others to facilitate change for all.