Articles | Volume 9, issue 4
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 1293–1339, 2016
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 1293–1339, 2016

Model description paper 05 Apr 2016

Model description paper | 05 Apr 2016

ERSEM 15.06: a generic model for marine biogeochemistry and the ecosystem dynamics of the lower trophic levels

Momme Butenschön1, James Clark1, John N. Aldridge2, Julian Icarus Allen1,3, Yuri Artioli1, Jeremy Blackford1, Jorn Bruggeman1, Pierre Cazenave1, Stefano Ciavatta1,3, Susan Kay1, Gennadi Lessin1, Sonja van Leeuwen2, Johan van der Molen2, Lee de Mora1, Luca Polimene1, Sevrine Sailley1, Nicholas Stephens1, and Ricardo Torres1 Momme Butenschön et al.
  • 1Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth, PL1 3DH, UK
  • 2Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science, Lowestoft, UK
  • 3National Centre for Earth Observation, Plymouth, UK

Abstract. The European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM) is one of the most established ecosystem models for the lower trophic levels of the marine food web in the scientific literature. Since its original development in the early nineties it has evolved significantly from a coastal ecosystem model for the North Sea to a generic tool for ecosystem simulations from shelf seas to the global ocean. The current model release contains all essential elements for the pelagic and benthic parts of the marine ecosystem, including the microbial food web, the carbonate system, and calcification. Its distribution is accompanied by a testing framework enabling the analysis of individual parts of the model. Here we provide a detailed mathematical description of all ERSEM components along with case studies of mesocosm-type simulations, water column implementations, and a brief example of a full-scale application for the north-western European shelf. Validation against in situ data demonstrates the capability of the model to represent the marine ecosystem in contrasting environments.

Short summary
ERSEM 15.06 is a model for marine biogeochemistry and the lower trophic levels of the marine food web. It comprises a pelagic and benthic sub-model including the microbial food web and the major biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, silicate, and iron using dynamic stochiometry. Further features include modules for the carbonate system and calcification. We present full mathematical descriptions of all elements along with examples at various scales up to 3-D applications.