Modelling the impact of the quantity and quality of nutrient inputs on the structural and functional dynamics of planktonic diversity at seasonal time-scales A case study on the NW Mediterranean Sea.

Project description: 
The Mediterranean is a semi-enclosed sea which is considered a miniature ocean, highly vulnerable to climatic and anthropogenic forcings, it hosts a large number of species despite its relative oligotrophy and is identified as one of the first marine biodiversity hotspots.

The main goal of project is to understand how large spatial and temporal nutrient gradients shape the planktonic communities of the Mediterranean sea. The ratios of N to P in seawater and in the metabolic requirements for plankton growth are indeed of particular interest, as these proportions determine which nutrient will limit biological productivity at the base of the food web and may select plankton communities with distinct biogeochemical function.

The cascading impact of the nutrient quantitative and qualitative inputs through the planktonic trophic chain remains poorly understood. Modelling has an important part to play in addressing this question.

The coupled modelling tool (Mars3D-Eco3M) for the NW Mediterranean is involved in this project and offers new potentialities since, it uses a hydrodynamical model that has been submitted to numerous validation operations, with an adequate spatial resolution (1.2 x 1.2 km mesh) to incorporate the mesoscale dynamics, and coupled with a biogeochemical model implemented in the Eco3M platform (variable stoichiometry).