As the Earth’s climate system continues to change, oceans are expected to become warmer, saltier, and less fertile. To understand the functioning of an ecosystem, its reaction to global pressures (climate change, pollution, overharvesting), and to forecast its fate, we need to investigate its past and present state. Yet, large-scale biological dynamics in several marine ecosystems remain poorly understood, due to a lack of longterm in-water measurements. To strengthen our knowledge on the function of marine ecosystem, we need to follow an inter-disciplinary approach, taking advantage of alternative types of observations. Sensors on-board satellite platforms have sampled the Earth at synoptic scales for decades, offering a cost-effective approach to detect large-scale biophysical interactions. Utilising remote sensing observations, I have aimed to elucidate the role of climate oscillations and regional environmental variability in driving the marine ecology following an inter-disciplinary approach. I will summurise my findings on how changes in Earth processes (Indian monsoons, ENSO teleconnections, and global warming) have a direct impact on the ecosystem of the Red Sea. Evidently the Red Sea is getting warmer rapidly, especially after an abrupt shift in the mid-90s, which still persists in the present day. My results suggest that the Red Sea organisms (such as plankton and fish), which are already exposed to very warm conditions, are vulnerable to further warming. The general mechanisms controlling the Red Sea phytoplankton biomass - the base of the marine food web - will be presented. Understanding large-scale biological variability and assessing the impact of climate change on the Red Sea ecosystem will support coral reef and fisheries management in the region.
Dionysios Raitsos is a satellite/biological oceanographer, and works as a Senior Research Scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML, UK) since 2013. He received his BSc in Marine Biology (2001), MSc in Fisheries Science (2002), and PhD in Satellite Oceanography (2006) from Newcastle, Aberdeen, & Plymouth University respectively. He has several years of experience as a research associate in Greece and Saudi Arabia (2007-2012).
Dionysios has extensive experience in satellite remote sensing and statistical modelling applications. He has expertise working with satellite, phytoplankton, and fisheries data, to investigate environmental changes at regional and global scales. He is particularly interested in studying large-scale biophysical mechanisms and how they shape the marine environment. On this subject he has published 43 peer-reviewed papers in high-impact journals, and has made contributes to 3 peer-reviewed books. His research on the Red Sea (14 papers) has been highlighted in the international press, including in Nature and New Scientist. He has been awarded the first prize in a global competition run by the European Space Agency (ESA) for his work on “Satellite Applications in Red Sea ecology”. He served as a part-time lecturer for 3 years at the University of Plymouth and has supervised several BSc, MSc and PhD students.
Dionysios has attracted funds from several National (UK), EU, and overseas funding bodies to study the function of marine ecosystems. He is a co-PI on the project ‘Virtual Red Sea Initiative’. He has served as a reviewer for 22 international journals including journals in Nature Publishing Group. Dionysios is a Review Editor in Frontiers in Marine Science, and a Guest Editor for Remote Sensing, currently leading a Special Issue on “Remote Sensing of Ocean Colour”.