About the project

NECCTON will enable the Copernicus Marine Service to better inform ocean policymakers, managers and publics about biodiversity conservation and fisheries management, by means of new modelling products for the green ocean: fishes, pollution and benthic habitats.
NECCTON will enable CMEMS to provide twenty-five new or improved products as shown below:

Central Hypothesis

The NECCTON vision is of a fully integrated modelling system that closely represents the functioning of the real marine ecosystem. To achieve this, we will build and integrate new and innovative models that can simulate marine high trophic levels, the benthic environment, the fate of pollutants and the impact of climate scenarios on ocean ecosystems.

The products from this system can be used for many applications including fostering ocean biodiversity conservation, supporting food security, and informing European policies.

We will achieve this through implementation of our central hypothesis:

" credible products and scenarios of food resources and biodiversity need systems that fuse observations into integrated models of the physics, biochemistry, fauna and flora components of ocean ecosystems, across benthic and pelagic habitats, and across multiple pressures including climate, fisheries and pollution". 

NECCTON illustration

NECCTON will feed into the Copernicus Marine Service which will enable a much wider range of uses and applications. The diagram below shows the Copernicus Marine Service before and after the addition of the NECCTON products. Before NECCTON the Copernicus Marine Service could only forecast and examine ocean physics and aspects of biogeochemistry.

Addition of the NECCTON products will mean that the Copernicus Marine Service is able to offer:

  • Improved biogeochemical products
  • Modelling of higher trophic levels
  • Modelling of the benthic habitat
  • Modelling of marine pollution

This will lead to new capabilities including:

  • MPA management
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • SDG reporting
  • Fish stock management
  • Support for aquaculture operations

Fundamental Concepts

NECCTON will push the current boundaries of operational ocean modelling, by means of the three pronged unifying approach:

The conceptual coupling of marine ecosystem processes to take account of two way feedbacks between biotic and a biotic components, habitats, trophic levels and stressors.

The integration of ecosystem models, satellite and in situ observations using novel artificial intelligence, machine learning and assimilation approaches.

Development of the framework inter-linking the libraries of all the current Copernicus Marine Service biogeochemical and physical models with the ecosystem model components developed and applied in NECCTON. This will facilitate knowledge sharing between Copernicus core developers and its users.


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.


This project wouldn't be possible without the hard work and dedication of our team of partners.

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Whales swimming in the ocean

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14 July 2024|News

Interactive ecosystem modelling workshop

NECCTON played a key role in the interactive ecosystem modelling training workshop held at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) as a finale to the Advances in Marine Ecosystem Modelling Research (AMEMR) Symposium.

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11 July 2024|News


Many researchers from the NECCTON project have actively participated in the AMEMR 2024 conference (Advances in Marine Ecosystem Modelling Research), sharing exciting results from the first year of our project. 

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24 April 2024|News

NECCTON at the Ocean Decade Conference 2024

The 2024 Ocean Decade Conference, held in Barcelona from April 10 to 12 and co-organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO), brought together over 1,500 participants from 124 countries and drew over 3,000 online viewers. Serving as the culmination of Ocean Decade Week with 120 Satellite Events (April 8-12), the conference's main outcome was the Barcelona Statement. This statement outlines priority...

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01 March 2024|News

NECCTON Project Endorsed by UN Ocean Decade Programme

NECCTON Project Endorsed by UN Ocean Decade Programme: Advancing Marine Biodiversity Conservation
The NECCTON is proud to announce its endorsement by the UN Ocean Decade Programme, as a project of the Marine Life 2030 programme, reconfirming its commitment to safeguarding the marine ecosystems. This endorsement signifies a significant milestone in NECCTON's mission to improve the monitoring and management of our...

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06 February 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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17 January 2024|News

NECCTON new video

We are pleased to share with you our first project video. This short video introduces the wide range of activities and research developments that will be undertaken by the team, highlighting how they will be useful in support of Copernicus Marine Service and wider user community. 

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24 November 2023|News

Better models for ocean conservation: Horizon Europe guarantee

Through a Horizon Europe guarantee grant, the UK is continuing to provide improved monitoring of the marine ecosystem. 

Around the globe, there’s a growing awareness of the importance of the seas for all life on our planet. And if we are to protect the marine environment accurate monitoring and prediction of its behaviour is crucial, we cannot manage what we do not observe.

In Europe, the Copernicus Marine Service...

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30 October 2023|News

NECCTON's Latest: Reports on Advancements in Key Products

We're pleased to announce the release of a comprehensive series of reports that unveil the innovative products our project aims to develop across various key areas. At NECCTON, we're dedicated to pushing the boundaries of innovation, and these reports underscore our commitment to delivering advanced solutions.

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12 July 2023|News

NECCTON's first Virtual Science Meeting

NECCTON's first virtual science meeting was a great success. Providing an opportunity for the whole team to gather and share details of scientific advancements in the first six months of the project. 

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03 July 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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28 June 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 a Horizon Europe Call for the evolution of the Copernicus Marine Service and will run...

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