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The primary goal of OPEC is to improve the quality of operational services for biogeochemical and ecological parameters and hence, improve our ability to project the future status of European marine ecosystems, by delivering a suite of error quantified indicators which describe changes in ecosystem function suitable for implementation in operational centers.

In order to advance our understanding and predictive capacities for the response of marine ecosystems to global change, OPEC will employ a combination of numerical simulations, data assimilation of satellite and in situ data, observational strategy evaluation and cross-disciplinary synthesis. The MSFD takes a regional approach to the development of strategies for environmental status, identifying four main regions: NE Atlantic, Baltic, Mediterranean and Black Seas. The MSFD also identifies a number of high level descriptors of environmental status (e.g. biodiversity, commercial fish, eutrophication, food webs, and invasive species) each of which has a defined set of indicators. Using the regional approach as framework we will implement and test a suite of indicators in each region. These descriptors along with the ECVs provide a framework for the definition of new environmental applications (e.g. habitat for biodiversity, oxygen depletion/eutrophication, fisheries and marine climate change research).

A common set of descriptors with associated GES indicators and ECVs will be defined across the four regions, to ensure a commonality of approach and the development of a consistent capacity across Europe. Auditable quality is essential for GMES environmental applications, and OPEC will emphasize the assessment of predictability of key indicators. The R&D undertaken will make use of new technologies building on the recent development of coupled end to end ecosystem models (e.g. DG_ENV, MEECE and SESAME) and data assimilation (e.g. MyOcean and ECOOP).

The project has nine partners from the EU and is coordinated by Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK.


  • Research area: Marine Populations and Ecosystem Dynamics
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ID: 2290163