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The International Ocean Discovery Program


The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), as well as its previous phases: Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP, 2003-2013), Ocean Drilling Program (ODP, 1985-2003) and Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP , 1968-1983), is an international marine research collaboration that explores the Earth's history and dynamics using ocean-going research platforms to recover data recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks and to monitor subseafloor environments. In the past 50 years, IODP, the largest international collaborative research program, has been playing a most important role in the Earth science research and has revolutionized our view of Earth history and global processes through ocean basin exploration. IODP depends on facilities funded by three platform providers with financial contributions from five additional partner agencies. The IODP-China Office is located at Tongji University. Its major responsibilities are: to undertake the liaison and coordination of IODP organizations, offering supportive services for the IODP-China Work Coordination Group and Scientific Committees, organizing the scientists participating in IODP expeditions, and to organize Chinese scientists to participate in IODP Scientific consulting institutions and other academic organizations.

Scientific ocean drilling has fundamentally transformed our understanding of Earth. Analyses of carefully collected and curated samples recovered by scientific ocean drilling have pushed the boundaries of knowledge of Earth’s climate system, providing geologic context for interpreting anthropogenic impact on climate and the environment. Over the coming decades, scientific ocean drilling is poised to contribute vital knowledge to address issues ranging from the mechanics of fault slip at subduction zones that lead to great earthquakes and tsunamis, to the high-CO2 climate systems of past “greenhouse” worlds and their global repercussions. A new phase of scientific ocean drilling will provide data needed to improve the accuracy of computer models that predict future climate, including the pace of rising sea levels and melting of glacial and polar ice. Scientific ocean drilling is the only tool available for exploring life in the oceanic crust of our planet—the largest biome on Earth—providing a glimpse of the types of microbial life that might exist elsewhere in our solar system and beyond.