Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment (MEECE)

Summary of the project

MEECE (Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment), a FP7 project was launched to investigate the sensitivities and potential responses of marine ecosystems to both climatic change and the direct effects of human activity in September 2008.

MEECE brings together over 60 scientists from 22 organisations to form a vibrant research community. By studying the key drivers of change set by the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (changes in temperature, ocean circulation, stratification and acidification, consequences of pollution, overfishing, invasive species and eutrophication) the project aims to gain a better understanding of the direct and interactive effects of these factors on marine ecosystems.

The focus of the research will be on the most important components of both the planktonic and benthic marine ecosystems. MEECE is the first project to attempt to use predictive models that consider the full range of drivers to elucidate the responses of the marine ecosystem in a holistic manner, rather than driver by driver as has been done in the past. MEECE explores multiple driver impacts on complex environments through numerical simulation models which include dynamic feedbacks. The project follows a logical process starting with targeted data synthesis, experimentation, model parameterisation and development, followed by model exploration through a range of scenarios addressing the full set of drivers. This innovative approach will help scientists and decision makers to respond to the multiple driver impacts with appropriate, knowledge-based, management applications. Outputs from these experiments and model simulations are being used to devise decision support tools and develop management strategies.

Area of study

Project adopts a regional study approach including: Barents Sea, NW European Shelf, North Sea, Baltic Sea, Biscay Bay, Black Sea, Adriatic, North Aegean Sea and Benguela.

TimeTable for activities

September 2008 to September 2012