Skip to main content

Marine Ecosystem Modelling

Marine ecosystem models are an important analytical approach to: integrate knowledge, data, and information; to improve understanding on ecosystem functioning; and complement monitoring and observation efforts. However, there is a mismatch between marine ecosystem modelling research and what policy makers need to know. The European Marine Board assessed and recommended Research and Development (R&D) needs for future marine ecosystem modelling for evidence-based policy making.


Future Science Brief 4, Enhancing Europe's Capability in Marine Ecosystem Modelling for Societal Benefit (October 2018). The publication is also available in as a high resolution .pdf.

News article on document publication (October 2018)



Fact Sheet on marine ecosystem modelling document (October 2018)

EMB Science Webinar on Marine Ecosystem Modelling (August 2020)

EMB Science Webinar on Modelling vs Observations (February 2021)

Impact report on marine ecosystem modelling document (November 2020)



Europe has excellent capability in Marine Ecosystem Modelling. However, there remains a mismatch between scientific research and what policy makers need to know. Therefore, a European Marine Board Future Science Brief highlighted foresight activities at European level and communicate community-driven European research needs and priorities to policy makers and wider stakeholders.

Our Future Science Brief on ‘Enhancing Europe’s capability in end-to-end marine ecosystem modelling for societal benefit’, published in October 2018, assesses the current capability in marine ecosystem modelling and presents case studies of models already used as a tool for marine ecosystem management. It concludes with key recommendations and actions to strengthen marine ecosystem modelling capability:

- Link models to observations and data
- Increase predictability through coordinated experiments and the ensemble approach
- Make marine ecosystem models more relevant to management and policy
- Develop a shared knowledge platform for marine models and support the development of next generation models
- Enhance trans-disciplinary connections and training opportunities

The publication also takes into account key messages from an expert workshop organized on 7 July 2017 (see below).

This working group provided input to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) societal outcome that aims for a predicted ocean.

Working Groups Meetings

  • 7 July 2017, Plymouth, UK - EMB Workshop on Marine Ecosystem Modelling. The workshop was organized in association with AMEMR (Advances in Marine Ecosystem Modelling Research). Find out more details about the workshop, including the briefing paper,  the agenda and the workshop summary report is also available here. The news article is here.
  • 10 November 2017, Online



Chair: Morten Skogen, Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Norway
Co-Chair: Sheila Heymans, Scottish Marine Institute (SAMS), UK and EMB Executive Director, Belgium

Working Group Members:

Corinna Schrum, Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research, Germany
Cosimo Solidoro, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS), Italy


Contact at European Marine Board Secretariat: Sheila Heymans Email