The main scientific objectives for 2007-2012 are based on the original three inter-related scientific questions/themes that provided the theoretical and operational framework for COPAS' initial studies (i.e. impact of ENSO and other large-scale phenomena in the ESP; structure and function of the OMZ; the role of AAIW on the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the ESP and how is this role modified by climate change). The scientific knowledge gained in Phase I (2002-2007) is considered as a solid background over which much deeper scientific knowledge will be achieved. In Phase II (2007-2012), a greater emphasis will be devoted to a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of processes and their corresponding underlying mechanisms, and the impact of oceanographic and climatic variability on present and past circulation, biogeochemical cycling, ecology and diversity of the ESP. A more holistic view of ecosystem functioning is certainly a major challenge which we expect to address by using synthesis and modeling tools.
The three main themes are being addressed from a multidisciplinary and synergistic point of view through six research programs (RP). Integrated efforts among Research Programs include: