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53rd International Colloquium on Ocean Dynamics

Liège, Belgium
Contact person
Marilaure Grégoire
E-Mail address


The 53rd International Colloquium on Ocean Dynamics: Low Oxygen environments in marine and coastal waters. Drivers, consequences and solutions will be taking place at Liège University, Belgium from 16 - 20 May 2022.


The colloquium is organized by the Global Ocean Oxygen Network (GO2NE) supported by IOC-UNESCO and will be an activity of the UN Decade program GOOD (Global Ocean Oxygen Decade) led by GO2NE and endorsed on June 8th by IOC UNESCO.


The colloquium thematic sessions will address ocean deoxygenation, its drivers and consequences at multiscale and considering the interactions of the ocean with the other Earth compartment and, in particular, the atmosphere and land. 
The colloquium is a contribution to the Ocean Decade program Global Ocean Oxygen Decade (GOOD).

The ocean oxygen budget and variability is governed by the interactions with the atmosphere. In The last few decades, the equilibrium state of the ocean-atmosphere system has been perturbed with the ocean becoming a source of oxygen for the atmosphere. In the global coastal zone, the increased river export of nitrogen and phosphorus from the land has resulted in massive eutrophication and hypoxia in coastal areas that have occurred world-wide. The volume of anoxic zones has expanded, altering biogeochemical pathways. The chemical composition of the ocean can be considered as fairly stable for the past several hundred millions of years (Watson et al., 2017), but the small inventory of essential chemical elements (e.g. fixed nitrogen and phosphorus) makes them sensitive to relatively small perturbations. 

Perturbations of biogeochemical cycling of the order of those caused by deoxygenation have the potential to have significant effects on the biogeochemistry and resulting chemical composition on relatively short time scales of several thousands of years. Positive feedback loops like the remobilization of phosphorus and iron from sediment particles in low oxygen conditions can further accelerate the process by stimulating primary production. In the geological past, perturbations of the phosphorus cycle drove the system away from equilibrium and promoted the episocidcal occurrence of large scale Ocean Anoxic Events (OAEs). 

Today’s processes are reminiscent of those thought to have promoted the occurrence of OAEs during the past several hundred million years and that led to major extinction events (Holland, 2006) and there is some concern that the current climatically driven ocean deoxygenation could lead to a similar future (Watson , 2016).

Research themes that will be addressed across the different colloquium sessions include: “how the past can inform the future”, ‘Assessing variability and trends”, “understanding processes and feedbacks and developing actionable indicators”, “Microbial Communities and their controls on biogeochemical feedbacks and interactions”, “Understanding causes and attributing changes”.

In particular, the reconstruction and mechanistic understanding of paleo-oxygen changes at decadal, centennial and longer time scales and their impacts on marine ecosystems and biodiversity to understand the natural baseline and long-term causes will be discussed. Key issues identified are (i) multi-proxy reconstructions of past changes of oxygenation in the Anthropocene, Holocene and beyond, (ii) modelling and records of deoxygenation under past global warming periods, (iii) long-term ecosystem response to human-induced and climate-induced deoxygenation, and (iv) long-term dynamics of land-ocean linkages. In turn, improved observations and modelling of the ongoing current deoxygenation may help to better understand the onset of past marine low-oxygen events and thereby help to improve our understanding of the evolution of the planet’s life supporting systems.

Key speakers/lecturers

  • Hans-Otto Portner (confirmed)
  • Samuel Jaccard (confirmed)
  • William Cheung (confirmed)
  • Vladimir Ryabinin (confirmed)
  • Jeremy Testa (confirmed)
  • Virginie Thierry (confirmed)
  • Sam Dupont (confirmed)
  • Takamitsu Ito (confirmed)

Registration and fees

Early bird (before 30 March, 2022)
Standard : 330 €
PhD Students : 200 €

Late registration (after 30 March, 2022)
Standard: 380 €
PhD Students: 250 €

More information

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