WP4 – Innovative modelling tools

Work package four  is designed to develop a suite of modelling tools to address key questions regarding the state of biological diversity and its relationship to food-webs, seafloor integrity, human impacts and climate change, going far beyond the state-of-the-art in previous EU projects (e.g. MEECE, FACTS).

Specific objectives:

1) Reviewing modeling capabilities and developing models to explore sensitivity of indicators of biodiversity to potential ecosystem change.  Specifically, modeling the relationships between specific indicators (in descriptors 1, 4 and 6) of biological diversity (from WP3) in the wider context of the MSFD and investigating the relationships/redundancy between the various indicators and their sensitivity and specificity to ecosystem change resulting from anthropogenic and natural drivers.

2) Modeling habitat and biological community for selected pilot areas. The objective addresses the likely need of MSs to monitor a subarea of a much larger regional sea and this objective will build on work done developing indicators in WP3, hence showing the developments from the WFD in taking the assessments to a larger scale and being based on assessments of systems rather than places.

3) Modeling of functional diversity within regional seas and connectivity across seas targeting the study of ecosystem functioning. A considerable advance over traditional methods is gained through modelling functional groups by multiple traits through Biological Traits Analysis (BTA) and analyzing ecosystem models through Ecological Network Analysis (ENA).

4) Facilitating the access of outputs to stakeholders and end-users.  The results and products from the WP should be accessible to stakeholders and end-users, by means of new technologies.

Main outputs: understanding the interactions between descriptors 1 (Biological diversity is maintained), 4 (Food webs are capable to ensure long term abundance of species with full reproductive capacity) and 6 (Sea-floor integrity at a level that ensures that the structure and functions of the ecosystems are safeguarded) will be investigated in detail and the complementary use of indicators will be explored to assess biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.


This work package is co-led by
Chris Lynam (CEFAS) and Christian Wilson (OceanDTM)