Marine Ecosystem Response to a changing Climate (MERCLIM)

(NORKLIMA Theme 1)

The climate of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans will undergo rapid changes over the next century. Climate influences many important ecosystem drivers which will change marine biogeochemical and ecological processes, ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. MERCLIM will provide critical new understanding on the impacts of climate change on the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems by means of an assessment of the role of dominant ecosystem drivers.

MERCLIM will have a specific focus on nutrient stoichiometry, biogeochemical cycling, food quality and energy/carbon flow through ecosystems from inorganic chemistry through phytoplankton, zooplankton, and bacteria to export and sedimentation, assessing consequences for food availability and quality for higher trophic levels.

MERCLIM will assess how decadal to centennial climate change will promote ecosystem modifications due to changes in marine climate (stratification, temperature, salinity, ice cover), light and UV radiation, ocean acidification, riverine inputs (nutrient inputs/eutrophication, organic loading). These drivers are hypothesised to have a significant degree of control on ecosystem functioning and biodiversity.

A major focus of MERCLIM will be the optimization, gaming mouse review and climate-driver-scenario simulations of a predictive process model. The project has high societal relevance and will contribute significantly to national and international research and policy efforts to manage marine ecosystems

22-1 2009

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