People > Dr Luca Polimene

Dr Luca Polimene

Marine Ecosystem Modeller

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


Dr Luca Polimene is a senior marine ecosystem modeller who has been working at PML since 2008. He started his career at the University of Bologna (Italy) working on the effect of heavy metals on phytoplankton in the framework of his master thesis in marine environmental science. He started to use and develop biogeochemical models in his PhD (University of Bologna) dealing with the dynamics of dissolved organic matter in the north Adriatic Sea.

Luca’s research at PML is mainly devoted to the development of models representing physiological and biogeochemical processes across the planktonic food web. More specifically, his research activity mainly concerns the modelling of photo-protective and antioxidant compounds production, photo-acclimation, bacteria-dissolved organic matter (DOM) interactions and grazing. Luca is currently principal investigator in one NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) (UK) grant (NE/N001974/1) and Co-Investigator in the NERC-UK nitrogen osmolytes project (NE/M003361/1), the UK Earth System Model (NE/N018036/1) and LOCATE (NE/N018087/1) projects. During his career, Luca has supervised two BSc, two masters and two PhD students.


A multidisciplinary study of DMSP production and lysis

A multidisciplinary study of DMSP production and lysis - from enzymes to organisms to process modelling

Contact: Dr Ruth Airs

A billion tonnes of the dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is made each year by marine phytoplankton, seaweeds, corals, coastal plants and marine...

UK Earth System Modelling (UKESM)

UK Earth System Modelling (UKESM)

Contact: Professor Icarus Allen

Global climate change is one of the leading environmental threats facing mankind. To develop appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies...

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Other key projects

  • NERC National Capability (NC) in sustained observation and marine modelling

Recent publications

  • Aiken, J; Brewin, RJW; Dufois, F; Polimene, L; Hardman-Mountford, NJ; Jackson, T; Loveday, BR; Mallor-hoya, S; Dall'Olmo, GD; Stephens, JA; Hirata, T. 2016 A synthesis of the environmental response of the North and South Atlantic Sub-Tropical Gyres during two decades of AMT. Progress in Oceanography. /10.1016/j.pocean.2016.08.004
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  • Polimene, L; Clark, DR; Kimmance, SA; McCormack, PJ. 2017 A substantial fraction of phytoplankton-derived DON is resistant to degradation by a metabolically versatile, widely distributed marine bacterium. PlosOne, N/A (N/A). 10.1371/journal.pone.0171391
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  • Polimene, L; Sailley, SE; Clark, DR; Mitra, A; Allen, JI. 2016 Biological or Microbial Carbon Pump? The role of phytoplankton stoichiometry in ocean carbon sequestration. Journal of Plankton Research. 10.1093/plankt/fbw091
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  • Dall’Olmo, G; Dingle, J; Polimene, L; Brewin, RJW; Claustre, H. 2016 Substantial energy input to the mesopelagic ecosystem from the seasonal mixed-layer pump. Nature Geoscience, 9 (11). 820-823. 10.1038/ngeo2818
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  • Butenschon, M; Clark, JR; Aldridge, JN; Allen, JI; Artioli, Y; Blackford, JC; Bruggeman, J; Cazenave, P; Ciavatta, S; Kay, S; Lessin, G; van Leeuwen, S; Van der Molen, J; de Mora, L; Polimene, L; Sailley, SF; Stephens, N; Torres, R. 2016 ERSEM 15.06: a generic model for marine biogeochemistry and the ecosystem dynamics of the lower trophic levels. Geoscientific Model Development, 9 (4). 1293-1339. 10.5194/gmd-9-1293-2016
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  • Pinna, A; Pezzolesi, L; Pistocchi, R; Vanucci, S; Ciavatta, S; Polimene, L. 2015 Modelling the Stoichiometric Regulation of C-Rich Toxins in Marine Dinoflagellates. PLoS one, 10 (9). 10.1371/journal.pone.0139046
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Selected key publications

  • L. Polimene, C. Brunet, M. Butenschön, V. Martinez-Vicente, C. Widdicombe, R. Torres, J.I. Allen (2013) Modelling a light-driven phytoplankton succession. Journal of Plankton Research doi:10.1093/plankt/fbt086
  • L. Polimene, S.D. Archer, M. Butenschön, J.I. Allen (2012) A mechanistic explanation of the Sargasso Sea DMS “Summer Paradox” Biogeochemistry.Vol. 110 :243-255 DOI 10.1007/s10533-011-9674
  • J. I. Allen and L. Polimene (2011) Linking physiology to ecology: toward a new generation of plankton models. Journal of Plankton Research Vol. 33(7): 989-997
  • L. Polimene, N. Pinardi, M. Zavatarelli, J.I. Allen, M. Giani and M. Vichi (2007). A numerical simulation study of DOC accumulation in the Northern Adriatic Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research 112,C03S20,doi:10.1029/2006JC003529
  • L. Polimene, N. Pinardi, M. Zavatarelli, S. Colella (2006) The Adriatic Sea ecosystem seasonal cycle: validation of a three dimensional numerical model. Journal of Geophysical Research 111,C03S19,doi:10.1029/2005JC003260 [Printed 112(C3), 2007]
  • L. Polimene, J.I. Allen, M. Zavatarelli (2006) Model of interactions between dissolved organic carbon and bacteria in marine systems. Aquatic Microbial Ecology Vol. 43:127-138 2.39 11 (12) 90

Other activities

  • Chair of the PML Seminar Series Committee