The response of the marine ecosystem during the 21st century depends on several, partly competing drivers, like expected reduced phosphorus and nitrogen loads, increased water temperatures, and reduced salinities. Thus, presently discussed targets for nutrient load reductions that may be sufficient to improve the ecological status in present climate might fail under future climate conditions. The proposed project ECOSUPPORT combines the assessments of various drivers to promote an ecosystem approach to the management of human activities. The main aim is to provide a multi-model system tool to support decision makers. The tool is based upon scenarios from an existing state-of-the-art coupled atmosphere-ice-ocean-land surface model for the Baltic Sea catchment area, physical-biogeochemical models of differing complexity, a food web model, statistical fish population models, economic calculations, and new data detailing climate effects on marine biota. The expected outcome is an advanced modeling tool for scenario simulations of the whole marine ecosystem that can underpin and inform design strategies to ensure water quality standards, biodiversity and fish stocks. For the aims of ECOSUPPORT 12 institutes from 7 Baltic Sea countries plan to form an excellent consortium consisting of University institutes, national governmental agencies and research institutes (including EU-recognized Centers of Excellence) with a wide range of expertise.
Model hierarchy in ECOSUPPORT and work package structure. The schematic is highly simplified neglecting complex interactions (e.g. fish predation pressure on zooplankton, changing society/policy will affect climate and nutrient load scenarios).