Spatial map of species abundance

Progress in modelling mesopelgic species and ecosystems

Monday 16 Nov 20

Researchers from work page 5 (Estimating mesopelagic resources and their resilience to harvesting and climate change) presented their latest results at the MEESO annual science meeting.

Four teams of scientists from Strathclyde University (UK), Technical University of Denmark, Institute of Marine Research (Norway), and Collecte Localisation Satellites (France) presented their recent progress in modelling mesopelagic species and ecosystems at the MEESO annual science meeting, held online 20-21 October 2020. 

The Strathclyde researchers (Douglas Speirs, and Emma Dolmaire) showed initial results from the StrathSPACE model representing one of the project target species (Benthosema glaciale). The model is an explicitly spatial single species model driven by temperature and flow from physical models and generates spatial maps of species abundance (pictured) and species length distributions. During the project the model will be used to explore the consequences of spatial harvesting scenarios and changing climate.

The DTU group (J. Rasmus Nielsen, Silvia Paoletti, and Alex Kokkalis) have conducted and extensive literature review summarising and tabulating population dynamic parameters of the key species Maurolicus meulleri and Benthosema glaciale). Outputs from this will contribute invaluable data for model formulation  and parameterisation. They have also analysed historical length-frequency data of M. meulleri from a Norwegian fjord. The results, obtained using a model called TropFishR, have provided new independent estimates of the growth and mortality rates of this species, as well as yield and biomass per recruit, and demonstrate that the approach can be used with new data gathered by the MEESO project.  

The IMR team (Morten Skogen, and Espen Strand) have developed a new individual-based model (IBM) of B. glaciale which connects to the 3-dimensional NORWECOM.E2E ecosystem model. The IBM is a detailed representation of individual feeding, growth, reproduction and vertical movement. Preliminary results show the dynamics in the Norwegian Sea of the changing spatial distribution of biomass and growth rates, and spatial and seasonal changes in daily vertical migration of this species. 

The CLS team (Anna Conchon and Patrick Lehodey) have been developing the SEAPODYM-LMTL model, which is a tool creating maps of small marine organisms (sizes from 2 to 20cm). SEAPODYM-LMTL produces maps of organisms with different migratory patterns. In MEESO, the SEAPODYM-LMTL will be used to quantify the amount of carbon transported to the depth of the ocean by these organisms. In order to do so, a simpler version of the model has been created, and during the course of MEESO this be linked to another model that focuses on the transport of carbon in the ecosystem.

During the course of 2020, all four research groups got together at a milestone online workshop in March, and a follow-up online meeting in June, in order to discuss the data requirements of the models used in work package 5 and to report these back to the wider MEESO programme. 


Douglas Speirs, University of Strathclyde,
Coordinator of MEESO work package 5
1 MARCH 2021