Why Operational Ecology?

The OPEC project (Operational Ecology) will help develop and evaluate ecosystem forecast tools to help assess and manage the risks posed by human activities on the marine environment, thus improving the ability to predict the “health” of European marine ecosystems.

Coastal seas provide many beneficial goods and services to humankind, such as fisheries, recreation, climate regulation and coastal defences, however, these marine environments are being disrupted by climate change and human activities. It is important that the marine environment is observed and monitored to provide high quality environmental information / data, understand its role in our Earth system, track changes and predict the potential response of the ocean to stressors.

Co-ordinated by Plymouth Marine Laboratory, OPEC will use the EU’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Marine Service as a framework and feed directly into the research and development of innovative global monitoring products or applications. This in turn will advise policies such as the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Common Fisheries Policy, as well as the continued monitoring of climate change and assessments of mitigation and adaptation strategies. The programme will focus on four European regional seas (North-East Atlantic, Baltic, Mediterranean and Black Seas) and plans to implement a prototype ecological Marine Forecast System, which will include hydrodynamics, lower and higher trophic levels (plankton to fish) and biological data assimilation.

Products and services generated by OPEC will provide tools and information for environmental managers, policymakers and other related industries, laying the foundations for the next generation of operational ecological products and identification of knowledge / data gaps.

Project details

Start date: 2012-01-01
End date: 2014-12-31
Duration: 36 months
Project Reference: 283291
Project cost: 2604649 EURO
Project Funding: 1999678 EURO
Programme Acronym: FP7-SPACE
Programme type: Seventh Framework Programme
Subprogramme Area: R&D to enhance future GMES applications in the Marine and Atmosphere areas
Contract type: Small or medium-scale focused research project

Contact Information


OPEC Wikis


Project Funding

This collaborative project is funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union