Science Highlights

Partitioning climate uncertainty in ecological projections: Pacific oysters in a hotter Europe

Rober Wilson, Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Understanding how marine species might expand their ranges is crucial for preparing and managing ecosystems in the face of climate change. However, many projections lack clarity on how uncertain these future changes might be, making planning difficult. We looked at uncertainties in climate models to predict the spread of the Pacific oyster in Europe. Using different climate change scenarios and a mix of climate models, we found that the oyster's future recruitment areas could vary greatly depending on the emissions scenario. Particularly, under high emissions, oyster recruitment areas could double compared to low emissions. Uncertainties in climate models and natural variability play significant roles in these projections, showing that considering different scenarios is essential for planning for the future of marine ecosystems. Our study emphasizes the need to account for these uncertainties when making decisions.

This work has been published and the full article is available here

Cultivation of oysters in the sea in the coast near the city of cancale in France

Modeling species distribution in the Mediterranean Sea integrating essential oceanographic variables

Diego Panzeri, Simone Libralato, OGS, Italy

Spatial fisheries management is widely used to reduce overfishing and protect biodiversity. However, the effectiveness and optimization of spatial measures depend on accurately identifying ecologically meaningful areas, which can be difficult in mixed fisheries. To apply a method generally to a range of target species, we developed an ensemble of species distribution models (e-SDM) combining general additive models, generalized linear mixed models, random forests, and gradient boosting machines.

The e-SDM was used to integrate abundance indices from scientific bottom trawl surveys with the geopositional data and essential oceanographic variables (EOVs) from the three-dimensional physical-biogeochemical operational model applied to juvenile and adult stages of 10 marine demersal species representing 60% of the total demersal landings in the central areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Using the e-SDM results, hotspots of aggregation and potentially more selective areas were identified for each target species of otter trawl.

Oil spill modeling: NECCTON perspectives

Svitlana Liubartseva, CMCC, Italy

This work explores the current comprehension of oil spill pollution in the Mediterranean.

The Lagrangian oil spill model MEDSLIK-II was suggested as a reliable and powerful tool for the prediction of oil transport and fate at sea. The Haven oil spill occurred off the coast of Genoa in April 1991 was proposed as a test case for the model validation. Oil spill drift and transformation will be forced by the datasets from the Copernicus Marine Service reanalysis.

Stochastic oil spill modeling will be developed to generate statistics for multiyear products. Hazard maps illustrated by the previous implementations (i.e., in the Port of Taranto) were presented as the NECCTON’s prototypes. Further usage of hazard maps, the potential of their upgrading and extension of applicability were discussed. 

Impact of wave coupling on bloom phenology across the north-west European shelf

Dale Partridge, PML, UK

The UK Regional Environmental Prediction project systematically evaluates the interactions between components of the Earth system. As part of this work we have assessed the impact of coupling the WAVEWATCHIII wave model to a NEMO-ERSEM simulation of biogeochemistry on the Northwest European Shelf. We observed that the inclusion of waves predominantly influences the off-shelf region, with delays to the spring bloom and reduced total net primary production over the bloom season due to increased vertical mixing. On-shelf, where the waters are typically more mixed sees a much smaller influence from the inclusion of waves. The suspended particulate matter models being developed under NECCTON will be heavily impacted by the vertical structure of the water column, meaning the inclusion of wave coupling is vital to producing an accurate simulation.

Chromophoric dissolved organic matter dynamics revealed through the optimization of an optical-biogeochemical model in the NW Mediterranean Sea

Eva Álvarez, OGS, Italy

Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) interacts with the ambient light and gives the waters of the Mediterranean Sea their colour. We propose a novel parameterization of the CDOM cycle, whose parameter values have been optimized by using the data of the monitoring site BOUSSOLE. 


Nutrient and light limitations for locally-produced CDOM caused aCDOM(λ) to covary with chlorophyll, while the above-average aCDOM(λ) values observed at this site were maintained by allochthonous CDOM. The configuration, outputs and sensitivity analyses from this 1D model application will be instrumental for future applications of BFM to the entire Mediterranean Sea in a 3D configuration.

Correcting model bias using Machine Learning Technique

Deep Banerjee, PML, UK

The development of an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) to alleviate nutrient bias in a conventional biogeochemical (BGC) model is important as the available observation (mostly surface chlorophyll) are insufficient to constrain nutrients without multi-variate Data Assimilation (challenging and computationally expensive). Furthermore, an ANN can handle large amounts of data in parallel with a relatively shorter execution time, unlike the grid point-to-grid point integration of a conventional model. Additionally, there are possibilities to resolve existing non-linear relationships between various parameters which are challenging for a numerical model too.
In this research, an ANN model is trained to predict nitrate concentration at the L4 station in the western English Channel. Input training features include atmospheric, ocean BGC and physical variables. Preliminary results exhibit good correlations with independent testing data. This ensures an improvement in representing complex BGC processes and thereby forecasting harmful events i.e., eutrophication with more accuracy.

From Biological Traits to Ecosystem Functions: a trait-based distribution model

Séverine Chevalier, University of Liege, Belgium

This research explores how ocean environmental conditions affect benthic functional biodiversity and hence biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem services at shelf scales.

The study area covers the northwestern continental shelf of the Black Sea where macrobenthos samples were collected from in situ measurements between 1995 and 2017 for a total of more than 280 taxa sampled at 237 stations. Thirty functional traits (i.e morphological, physiological features defined at the species level) were determined for a representative subset of 150 taxa. 

Through multivariate analysis the traits were linked to the environmental conditions. Traits will then be mapped with a set of approaches combining the dynamic interpolation variational analysis tool (DIVA) combined with Neural Network and Habitat Suitability Models.

Global Climate Scenarios of ocean physics, biogeochemistry and biology

Karen Guihou, Mercator Ocean International, France

Marine ecosystems are currently under pressure from human activities and changes in their environment, linked to global warming. A better understanding of the impact of climate change on the ocean (temperature, currents, acidification, oligotrophication,…) is necessary to mitigate the decrease of biomass in the future.  

In the framework of NECCTON, climate projections will be conducted, and evaluated to assess the needs for fisheries management and biodiversity conservation. An ensemble of 21st century projections of the ocean’s state, from physics and biogeochemistry to biology, will be driven. Atmospheric forcings from coupled models part of CMIP6 (Couple Model Intercomparison Project) will serve as input for the projections, and will be debiased to better fit the mean state and variability of the hindcast. Different warming scenarios, based on different socio-economic pathways (SSPs) from various models will be tested, to encompass the uncertainty on climate change efforts that will be taken in the coming years.

Micronekton modeling: Coupling of SEAPODYM-LMTL and PISCES with FABM

Sarah Albernhe, CLS

Micronekton is a group of small organisms (2-20 cm) located at the intermediate level of the oceanic trophic chain (crustaceans, cephalopods, fish, etc.). They make daily vertical migrations between the surface at night to feed, and the deep ocean during the day to hide from predators. Through this migratory behaviour, micronekton is responsible for an active export of carbon to the depths, where it remains sequestered for very long periods. The study carried out as part of NECCTON focuses on micronekton modeling in its environment, by coupling the numerical model of micronekton population dynamics SEAPODYM-LMTL (Lehodey et al., 2010, 2015) and the biogeochemical model PISCES, which represents carbon fluxes in the lower trophic levels (Aumont et al., 2015). 
This coupling will enable the quantification of micronekton impact on the ocean carbon cycle. It will be carried out using the FABM framework, in one dimension thus modeling a simple water column. The implementation of SEAPODYM-LMTL in FABM has just started, PISCES already is, so the next step will be the proper coupling of these models.

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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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