About the project
The shelf seas modelling programme will build upon the considerable expertise in shelf sea biogeochemical and physical
modelling available in the UK to develop a new shelf biogeochemical model system for use
by the UK science community. This will be based on the existing ERSEM shelf seas
biogeochemistry model. It will ensure that the ocean biogeochemical model developments
necessary to achieve our priorities receive support from the broader community, including
modellers, biogeochemists and oceanographers. The legacy will be a state of the art model
tool to support scientific research, operational oceanography and marine policy (e.g. Marine
Strategy Framework Directive, and Marine and Climate Acts).
The program will address a range of key scientific questions, which provide a framework for
model development, simulation experiments and analysis. These will also inform the design
of the observational and experimental elements of the Shelf Seas biogeochemistry
- How does the interaction between stratification and turbulence on tidal to seasonal
scales impact shelf scale biogeochemical budgets, especially on decadal
- What controls plankton community structure at seasonal and interannual timescales,
and how does this structure impact on the composition of detrital material and hence
the amount, quality and rate of supply to the benthos.
- At what temporal /spatial scales and in which regions does calcification exert a
significant impact on the shelf seas inorganic carbon budget?
- Do microbial loop dynamics impose a control on the recycling of C, N, and P in
benthic and pelagic systems?
- What is the influence of zooplankton in controlling the biogeochemical cycling of shelf
- Are shelf scale biogeochemical budgets sensitive to changes in physical processes
acting at the benthic pelagic interface?
- Are shelf seas biogeochemical budgets sensitive to changes in benthic community
structure and activity?
- Are the UK shelf seas a source or sink for climatically active gases; specifically CO2
Finally, in order to aid interpretation of model predictions we will assess what determines
and potentially limits the model’s capability to predict the various components of the marine
ecosystem (including physics, pelagic and benthic processes)?