What is Operational Ecology?

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. It is applicationsfocussed, delivering regular quality ensured information products in support of management and decision making via information that is relevant and in a format which can be easily accessed. R&D efforts include but are not limited to optimization of monitoring network and models, data assimilation, in situ observations and fisheries data.

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.

The OPEC Project

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