Modelling for the MSFD
Several pieces of environmental European legislation require the assessment and monitoring of specific components of the marine environment, with the ultimate aim of achieving and maintaining a good environmental status.

Marine models can be useful for a number of purposes related to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), such as to determine baseline conditions from the past, estimate the future impact of pressures and the suitability of measures, complement scarce datasets and help prioritise sampling activities.

The modelling framework proposes end-to-end modelling which aims to represent large parts of the marine ecosystem by including the most relevant processes in the system, from physics to chemistry, and plankton to fish. This system is explicitly linked to the descriptors of the MSFD.

To achieve this objective, four types of models are incorporated into a single modelling framework/toolbox:

  • hydrological models that provide information on river discharge in terms of flow and nutrients,
  • hydrodynamic models (that simulate marine water transport),
  • lower-trophic-level biogeochemical models (including phytoplankton and zooplankton),
  • higher-trophic-level food-web models (from phytoplankton to marine mammals/seabirds).

The models considered will be aligned for comparison with policies, i.e. hydrological models with the Water Framework Directive (WFD), and higher-trophic-level food-web models with Biodiversity policies.

Kick-off workshop of the Network of Experts for ReDeveloping Models of the European Marine Environment
The 'Kick-off workshop of the Network of Experts for ReDeveloping Models of the European Marine Environment. Eutrophication modelling and Descriptor 5 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive' was held on 20-21 January 2016 in Brussels, Belgium, jointly organized by DG Environment and DG JRC (IES –Water Resources Unit). 

The aim of this workshop was to learn about existing modelling work and to draw lessons for the build-up of the European modelling effort. In this context, the workshop consisted of 18 presentations on the use of marine ecosystem models to address indicators within Descriptor 5 of the MFSD in coastal zones and European regional seas, including assessment, indicator development and scenario building. Some other descriptors were also covered by the presentations and discussions. The presentations dealt with

  • South European regional seas (Black and Mediterranean Seas),
  • Atlantic shelf areas,
  • North Sea and Baltic Sea and
  • General lectures.

The workshop also served as the inception meeting of the newly created informal network of experts on the Modelling of the European Marine Environment (MEME). The participants were invited to join the network DG Environment and DG JRC emphasizing the added value of a joint effort to further develop modelling capabilities with the objective of providing useful advice for policy makers. This was well received by the attendants. The report summarises the workshop and provides further detail on the presentations, discussion and conclusions.
Presentations held during the workshop: