Historical Background of IOC

The Institute of Oceanography, University of Calabar, was established in 1982 as a Centre for research and training in marine sciences in Nigeria. It is the only university-based research institute in the country, which addresses issues concerning nature, utilization and conservation of our coastal and offshore resources. The mission of the Institute is defined by its statute pursuant to which she engages in research and consultancy, forging of national and international linkages and activities in general which promote the understanding of the aquatic environment.

As mankind increasingly turns to the sea for exploitation of resources and disposal of wastes, a better understanding of the aquatic environment in general and the marine environment in particular will assume greater importance. The University of Calabar, by its coastal location, is strategically placed to address these concerns in Nigeria. We envisage an Institute which should eventually serve as a university-based Centre of Excellence for research and training in marine science disciplines charged with the production of the required medium- and high-level marine expertise in the Country

The value of such a Centre is predicated on the following:

  • The strategic and the maritime location of the University of Calabar
  • The country's extensive coastline which stretches for over 800 kilometers and the inadequate number of institutions sufficiently staffed and equipped to address various marine-related issues and problems which require scientific investigation,
  • The extensive material and human resources along this coastline for which we need a deeper understanding of their interactions for sustainable utilization and management,
  • The increasing threats to sensitive coastal ecosystems such as the mangrove forest and the need for a body of information relevant to their sustenance,
  • The increasing importance of the marine environment as a source of natural resources and destination for the disposal of industrial and domestic waste products.

Conception and Origin of IOC

The Institute grew out of the erstwhile Department of Biological Sciences and the vision for her conception and creation must be credited to the founding Director, Professor Ulo Kponuko Enyenihi. The blueprint for the establishment of the institute was formulated in 1981/1982 under the coordination of the Research Center of the Gesellschaft zur Anwendung der Kernenergie in Schiffbau und Schiffahrt mbh (GKSS), Hamburg, Germany and the full and active participation of the following individuals and institutions:

  • Dipl. Ing. Helmut Bianchi - GKSS
  • Prof. Dr. W. Nellen - Institut fur Meereskunde, Kiel
  • Prof. Dr. D. Schnack - Institut fur Meereskunde, Kiel
  • Prof. Dr. G. Hempel - University of Bremerhaven

The initial conception of the Institute was for a six-department structure with the full complement of ancillary operational units and infrastructure. Funding constraints, however, and the exigencies of the political situation in the course of actualizing the initial concept demanded a dynamic response by the institute in the execution of its mandate. Consequently, in 1987, the institute undertook a restructuring which involved the streamlining of the initial six departments into three departments viz: Departments of Biological Oceanography, Physical Oceanography and Fisheries and Aquaculture. In 2007, the departmental structure of the institute was modified and the former departments became Units within the Institute. As a result of these changes, IOC has emerged as a more dynamic interdisciplinary institute.

Historical Landmarks

Some significant landmarks, despite the difficult operating circumstances, have punctuated the history of the Institute. These achievements have been recorded in the areas of attracting national and international research funding, fellowships and awards; consultancy and community service; and the design and implementation of innovative programs of teaching and research. These are highlighted below and further presented in detail under the respective sections:

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