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