The in situ iron studies (ISIS) Consortium for ocean iron fertilization (OIF) research has officially launched. ISIS is a group of twelve universities and research centers from around the world which will cooperate to study different aspects of OIF, including its sequestration potential and environmental impacts. The Consortium will conduct large-scale, long-term experiments in the open ocean, as well as observational and modeling studies. The stated purpose of ISIS is to provide a stronger scientific foundation for possible OIF deployment.
ISIS represents an attempt to gain greater legitimacy for OIF. Research has been dominated up to now by private firms such as Planktos and Climos, whose commercial interests have made their work questionable in the eyes of critics. The ISIS Consortium is noncommercial and its membership is primarily academic. ISIS has also pledged to comply with OIF research protocols currently being developed under the London Convention/London Protocol (LC/LP). Despite these efforts, it is doubtful whether opponents of geoengineering such as ETC Group will lessen their hostility toward OIF.