EURO-BASIN is designed to advance our understanding on the variability, potential impacts, and feedbacks of global change and anthropogenic forcing on the structure, function and dynamics of the North Atlantic and associated shelf sea ecosystems as well as the key species influencing carbon sequestering and ecosystem functioning. The ultimate goal of the program is to further our capacity to manage these systems in a sustainable manner following the ecosystem approach. Given the scope and the international significance, EURO-BASIN is part of a multidisciplinary international effort linked with similar activities in the US and Canada. EURO-BASIN focuses on a number of key groups characterizing food web types, e.g. diatoms versus microbial loop players; key species copepods of the genus Calanus; pelagic fish, herring (Clupea harengus), mackerel (Scomber scombrus), blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) which represent some of the largest fish stocks on the planet; piscivorous pelagic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) and albacore (Thunnus alalunga) all of which serve to structure the ecosystem and thereby influence the flux of carbon from the euphotic zone via the biological carbon pump. In order to establish relationships between these key players, the project identifies and accesses relevant international databases and develops methods to integrate long term observations. These data will be used to perform retrospective analyses on ecosystem and key species/group dynamics, which are augmented by new data from laboratory experiments, mesocosm studies and field programs. These activities serve to advance modelling and predictive capacities based on an ensemble approach where modelling approaches such as size spectrum; mass balance; coupled NPZD; fisheries; and “end to end” models and as well as ecosystem indicators are combined to develop understanding of the past, present and future dynamics of North Atlantic and shelf sea ecosystems and their living marine resources.
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