CarboChange - IMBER

IMBER is an international project aiming to investigate the sensitivity of marine biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems to global change, on time scales ranging from years to decades. The project also aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of, and accurate predictive capacity for ocean responses to accelerating global change and the consequent effects on the Earth System and human society.

Previously known as OCEANS, the project was initiated in 2001 with the intention to identify the effects of global change on the ocean and the most important biological and chemical aspects of the ocean’s role in global change. A task team was set up to recommend how the second phase of the project should accommodate new developments in marine ecosystem research. In March 2010, on-going regional programmes were incorporated into the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research project.

Research within the project framework aimed at identifying the mechanisms by which marine life influences marine biogeochemical cycles, and how these, in turn, influence marine ecosystems. Central to the goal is the development of a predictive understanding of how marine biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems respond to complex forcings, such as large-scale climatic variations, changing physical dynamics, carbon cycle chemistry and nutrient fluxes, and the impacts of marine harvesting.

The project themes are:

  • Key interactions between biogeochemical cycles and marine food webs,
  • Sensitivity to global change,
  • Feedbacks to the earth system,
  • Responses of society.

The project takes a networking approach and has a scientific steering committee, an international project office and a regional project office in Shanghai, China. The development of regional programmes is a mechanism for regional implementation of research, and is facilitated by working groups established to consider specific topics. The regional programmes within the project are also encouraged to develop implementation plans that facilitate collaboration and communication between individual and national projects.


IMBER (2005) Science plan and implementation strategy.
IGBP report No. 52, IGBP Secretariat, Stockholm. 76 pp.