NECCTON is transforming the European capability to predict and protect the biodiversity of marine ecosystems. New modelling products of fisheries, pollution and benthic habitats will enable the Copernicus Marine Service to better inform ocean policymakers, managers and publics


The ocean’s biodiversity provides us with vital services: it sustains 32 out of the 33 known animal phyla and supports the livelihoods of over three billion people. These services are endangered by human pressures and climate change. To understand the pressures on the ocean and manage resources in a sustainable manner requires comprehensive, accurate and timely data.

The Copernicus Marine Service produces ocean monitoring products by integrating satellite and in situ ocean observations with marine models. However, the models currently applied are restraining the provision of information on biodiversity and marine food-webs.

Our vision is to build new and innovative models that will accurately simulate the marine ecosystem, including higher trophic level organisms and the benthic environment. NECCTON will use state-of-the-art techniques and incorporate new data streams to produce a fully integrated modelling system that more closely represents the functioning of the marine ecosystem.

Integrating our systems into the Copernicus Marine Service will enable a greater number of more reliable ocean products to be delivered to support biodiversity conservation and food security.

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NECCTON Illustration


The overall objective of NECCTON is to enable CMEMS to deliver products that inform marine biodiversity conservation and food resources management, by fusing innovative ocean ecosystem models and new data.

Biomass, production, migration and spatial distribution of marine higher trophic level organisms are intrinsically linked to environmental conditions and bottom-up trophic processes. NECCTON will link state-of-the-art higher trophic level models to current Copernicus Marine Service coupled physical-biogeochemical models. This will deliver operational products for nekton communities that support policy development and economic growth.

Biophysical interactions strongly influence habitat suitability for higher trophic level organisms. NECCTON will improve and extend the current Copernicus Marine Service capacity to deliver physical and biogeochemical products for the lower trophic levels of the marine ecosystem, which will improve support for higher trophic level modelling.

The benthic habitat is a vital and integral component of the marine ecosystem. NECCTON will build Copernicus Marine Service capacity on modelling benthic flora, fauna and sediments, to deliver products characterizing the variability of the biological communities.

NECCTON will build Copernicus Marine Service capability to model marine pollution and to assess integrated pressures, to deliver operational products that are relevant to protect biological communities.

Simulations of an ecosystem’s response to climate change scenarios are a valuable tool for marine management. NECCTON will develop capability for the Copernicus Marine Service to perform both hindcast and climate projections for biodiversity conservation and food resource management.

NECCTON will provide Copernicus Marine Service with new capability in integrating numerical model simulations and new and consolidated types of observations by making use of machine learning techniques and advanced data assimilation approaches.

NECCTON will develop a prototype modelling framework inter-linking the newly developed ecosystem-model components with all the existing Copernicus Marine Service biogeochemical and physical models. This will facilitate the sharing of models throughout the Copernicus Marine Service and enable model ensemble exercises to assess the reliability of products.

Case Studies

Read our case studies showing how NECCTON tools and products have been used and co-developed with stakeholders in the fisheries management and biodiversity conservation sectors.

Small pelagic fish

Small pelagic fish in the Bay of Biscay

Fishery Management

Pelagic fish

Forecasting climate change impact on potential catches of open ocean large pelagic fish

Fishery Management


Ensemble of species distribution models to determine hot spots of aggregation in support of management plans and Marine Protected Area definition in the Mediterranean Sea

Fishery Management

aquaculture farm area

Mapping sources of pollutants transported towards Mediterranean aquaculture farm areas

Fishery Management

bottom of the sea

Natura 2000 marine protected areas in the Adriatic Sea

Biodiversity Conservation

Biodiversity conservation

Biodiversity conservation in the North West Black Sea 

Biodiversity Conservation

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February 6, 2024|News

NECCTON Releases Best Practices Guide for Model Development

NECCTON is dedicated to enhancing the Copernicus Marine Service, and this week announces the release of its concise guide for biogeochemical/ecological model development. This document outlines practical strategies for model implementation, fostering interoperability across CMEMS Monitoring and Forecasting Centres (MFCs)....

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July 3, 2023|News

NECCTON Co-Design Stakeholder Workshop

Last week, the NECCTON Stakeholder Workshop: Co-design of Future Products was held virtually. This two-day workshop took place on June 28th and 29th with the aim of presenting NECCTON's future products and gathering stakeholder needs. The first public event of NECCTON attracted over 100 participants, including key stakeholders, project scientists, and potential users of NECCTON products....

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June 28, 2023|News

Advancing the Conservation of Ocean Biodiversity through Copernicus Marine Service Evolution

The New Copernicus Capability for Tropic Ocean Networks project (NECCTON) aims to expand the Copernicus Marine Service product catalogue by delivering new and improved biogeochemical products, by means of new models of higher trophic levels, the benthic habitat, and of marine pollution. Launched in January 2023, the project received funding under Horizon Europe Call for the evolution of the Copern...

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June 20, 2023|News

NECCTON at the Digital Ocean Forum

The project coordinator Stefano Ciavatta joined the second Digital Ocean Forum (DOF2), organized by the EU DG MARE and DG RTD, in Brussels on the 14th and 15th June 2023....

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