Rajani Kanta Mishra started his professional career in 1999 as a Junior and then Senior Research Fellow, and holds a PhD in biological oceanography. After the completion of this doctorate, entitled “Hydro-biological studies in coastal waters off Orissa coast in the Bay of Bengal with emphasis on phytoplankton productivity”. After this, he studied for a second doctorate in engineering from Tokai University, Japan ,focusing on earth and environmental sciences.
Rajani joined the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) at the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) in India in 2011. His research has focused on hydrodynamics and the biogeochemical cycle of the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean (SO). He worked extensively on phytoplankton dynamics in various frontal regions of the SO biogeochemical cycle, and was the first to study phytoplankton dynamics with a time series analysis in each front of the Indian sector of the SO. For the first time in this region, has tracked the shifting of phytoplankton communities, alongside their adaptation and role in biogeochemical processs and associations in each front from their onset to decay. His research on pigment based analysis through High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) for an identification group of phytoplankton communities and species has established its pivotal role in the primary production and influence on marine biota, including the ecosystem along the Indian sector of the SO.
Furthermore, Rajani’s work on phytoplankton communities dominance, especially diatom in polar regions, given provided a new way of understanding significant environmental conditions and was also instrumental in evolving many new hypotheses. His studies have also helped in the development and validation of Aqua-Modis retrieval, data and NOBM (NASA Ocean Biogeochemical Model) for the better understanding the biogeochemical and ecosystem dynamics of the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean. He has led a scientific team of national and international researchers as Deputy Chief Scientist and Chief Scientist in an Indian Southern Ocean Expedition during (IOSE-8) and (IOSE-10), respectively, to understand air-sea interaction, hydrodynamics and biogeochemistry processes of the Indian sector of SO.
Rajani remains actively involved in the SOOS (Southern Ocean Observing System) regional working group, and assists, where possible, standardised observations of essential physical, chemical and biological variables in the Indian Sector of the SO in support of SOOS objectives. He has authored 31 research publications in peer reviewed national /international journals.