AMP Toolbox

Regional Models

In order to make good decisions, it is generally necessary to compare policy alternatives in terms of efficiency, costs and benefits.


Models that express scientific predictions over time can be used to analyses policy consequences. In particular environmental models are very useful for simulating and analyzing the long-term dynamics and stability properties of complex environmental systems. They allow integrating information from different disciplines as well as analyzing, interpreting and understanding field observations. Moreover, they allow alternative scenarios to be developed, simulated, analyzed, compared, and ranked according to their effect. As stressed by Williams et al (2009), models play a key role in representing uncertainty. In adaptive management, structural or process uncertainty is captured in contrasting hypotheses about system structure and function, and the hypotheses are imbedded in the suite of models used to forecast resource changes through time.

In the examples given to illustrate the role of models in adaptive management, Willams (2009) shows that models can be as informal as a verbal description of the system dynamic or very complex and powerful numerical computer models, as those developed within PERSEUS. What is important in adaptive management is that models should allow characterizing ecosystem behaviors and response to management actions. A prerequisite is that they should incorporate meaningful hypotheses and capture key uncertainties about ecosystem processes and policy effects.

In this section, the chain of assumptions and models developed by Perseus are presented, comprising:

Future scenarios of development in the Mediterranean and Black seas regions


These scenarios give indications of the growth (positive, stable or negative) of main human activities being drivers of pressures that are impacting marine ecosystems (such as demographics, tourism, fisheries…). Built from a meta-analysis on several futures studies regarding the region, these scenarios have been described through contrasted storylines regarding the future of the region. The linked document, part of a Perseus deliverable, can provide the user with estimations of future trends regarding the main drivers leading to impacts on the marine and coastal ecosystems.

Model giving nitrogen and phosphorus river loads in the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, Model presentation and Synthetic results  


The Integrated Modeling to Assess the Global Environmental (IMAGE) framework was originally developed to study the causes and impacts of climate change within an integrated context, and has been progressively used to study a whole range of environmental problems. Within Perseus the IMAGE 2.4 Model has been used to provide hindcast and future projection of the impact of wastewater and agriculture on nitrogen and phosphorus river loads in the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. This framework takes into account basic drives as demographics and agricultural economy and trade, which have been partly derived from the Future scenarios of development for the region. These interact with land allocation and in general with the carbon and nutriment cycles, allowing through complex process to estimates nutriment impacts in terms of nutriment river loads. Presentations of the IMAGE 2.4 framework and synthetic presentation of the results expressed in phosphorus and nitrogen loads to the sea from 1970 to 2020 are available from links in headline of this section. More details are given in Perseus deliverable:
D4.6: SES land-­‐based runoff and nutrient load data (1980-2000)

Ecosystem End to End (E2E) numerical models at basin or sub-regional scales. Model presentation


These models links and couple together Lower and Higher Trophic levels models explicitly subjected to the open seas and / or coastal physical dynamics. These models will be used to project into future scenarios on the 2020 time horizon, providing information on environmental characteristics such as temperature, salinity and pH of the water, nutrient content, phyto-zooplancton and fishes, that are involved in several MSFD descriptors such as D1 (biological diversity), D4 (food webs), D5 (eutrophication), D6 (sea floor) and D7 (hydrogeographical conditions). These results will progressively be integrated in the AMP Toolbox. For now, the user can consult a synthetic presentation of the End To End Models, available through link in the headline of this section. More details are given in Perseus deliverable: D4.4 LTL-HTL regional model coupling to establish E2E modelling system. Assessment of the models skill

Other source of ecological model results for the Mediterranean and the Black Seas regions: The Marine Operation Ecology data portal


This portal provides model simulated ecosystem data for European Regional Seas, including Mediterranean and Black Seas. Through the FP7 OpEc research project, model systems have been developed for four European regional seas. These state of the art end to end modelling systems have been used to produce 20 year hindcasts (simulations of the past), Rapid Environmental Assessments (simulations of the very recent past) and further used to develop an approach to seasonal forecasting. Supporting environmental assessment and ecosystem-based management, Operational Ecology (OE) reconstructs past history and aims to predict the future status of the marine environment and ecosystem. Main key indicators available are: Temperature, Salinity, Phosphate, Nitrate, Silicate, Primary production, Chlorophyll, Phytoplankton, Zooplankton, Fish biomass for some species and more. They are involved in several MSFD descriptors such as D1 (biological diversity), D3 (commercial fisheries), D4 (food webs), D5 (eutrophication) and D7 (hydrogeographical conditions). Selected GIS layers can be exported by the user.