Modelling marine benthic ecosystems:  from observing state to explaining function
  • Lecture Theatre 006, Babbage Building

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The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences organises a regular series of research seminars throughout the academic year to which everyone is welcome to attend. Speakers - both external and internal to the University - will talk on topics related to all aspects of Earth Sciences.

Today's speaker is Dr Gennadi Lessin from Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

Organic matter produced in the water column and subsequently deposited onto the seafloor is a key driver for maintaining rich and diverse communities of benthic macrofauna. The quantity, quality and timing of organic matter supply sets the dominant functional traits within the benthic environment, which in turn exerts significant control over biogeochemical cycles. Numerical models of various structure and complexity have been developed recently in order to better understand benthic dynamics. The biogeochemical-ecological model ERSEM includes several groups of benthic biota, which makes it particularly applicable for studies of biological interactions within sediments and benthic-pelagic coupling. 

Gennadi will give an introduction into the ERSEM structure and show how it is applied to interpret observations from the Western Channel Observatory. Gennadi will present results of a simple model configuration which was used to characterise typical responses of major macrofaunal groups to phytoplankton production and deposition, as well as an extended model with diversified feeding types of macrofauna, which revealed further details of internal interactions within benthic community. Model-data relationships, challenges and future directions of benthic ecosystem modelling will be briefly discussed.

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