Profiles of REE concentrations and neodymium isotope measurements in the western Indian Ocean are consistent with published data from the other major oceans. REE concentrations show a strong hydrographic control. The influence of intermediate water masses is particularly significant. Surface water concentrations vary with salinity. Paniculate REEs are less than 5% of dissolved concentration, except for Ce, where up to ~20% of total REEs are present as >0.4 μm particles. In contrast to dissolved profiles, concentration profiles of paniculate REEs, including Ce, all increase with depth. REE concentrations correlate with silica over all but the deepest waters, although, in detail, correlations are complex. The neodymium isotopic composition of Indian Ocean seawater (avg. ∊Nd(0) = -8.3) is intermediate between that for the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Comparison of REE data from the major oceans shows that the HREEs behave more like Si than do the LREEs. Sm/Nd ratios are near-constant for all oceans, whereas Er/Nd ratios vary between the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. The fractionation of the REEs in surface seawaters can be explained by fractionation factors relative to silica from ~0.12 for La to 0.05 for Er. Use of a seven-box model shows that the interoceanic variations in neodymium isotopic compositions and Nd concentrations cannot be reconciled unless particle-water exchange is invoked. The degree of exchange required is consistent with particle residence times of ~1-10 yr.