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Physical Oceanography

Biogeochemical cycles in regional ecosystems

Marine life starts with production of phytoplankton at the lower end of the food chain. We develop and utilize coupled biophysical models to simulate and understand environmental and long-term climatic impacts on the marine ecosystem.

Photo:
UIB/GFI

Timing and magnitude of phytoplankton and zooplankton production is crucial for the dynamics of the entire ecosystem. The wrong timing or location of lower trophic level production can have significant impacts on the survival of fish offspring and thus, change the shape of the ecosystem sustainably. Likewise would inflow anomalies of nutrients in a regional ecosystem impact the phytoplankton production and then cascade up the food chain.

We have developed the 3 dimensional ecosystem model ECOSMO that includes Nutrient, Phytoplankton, Zooplankton and Detritus dynamics (a so called NPZD model) and includes additionally a module dealing with carbon chemistry to simulate ocean acidification. The model is a highly suitable tool for experiments concerning basic process understanding but also to understand ecosystem change under future climate change. Currently the model is used in different shelf sea regions, examples are the North- and Baltic Sea system, the Barents Sea.