Research Sectors

We develop and maintain world-class, scalable modelling frameworks that assess the structure, function and dynamics of marine systems, from estuaries to shelf seas and the global ocean. The group works across a range of research sectors as detailed here:
Marine windfarm at sea


The marine system plays a significant role in providing solutions to the so-called energy trilemma: the need for sustainable, economic and secure energy. Offshore windfarms already provide significant power generation; PML has developed models to investigate near and far field impacts and potential opportunities for co-location with other marine activities. Capture of fossil fuel and other industrial CO2 emissions and storage beneath our shelf seas (Carbon Capture and Storage) is vital if we are to meet emissions targets. PML models are at the forefront of research into impacts and monitoring of CCS.  

Carbon Capture and StorageOffshore Wind

Water pouring out of a pipe

Environmental Health

Healthy, unpolluted seas are required to support food provision, recreation and other marine services such as waste remediation. However these services are increasingly subject to stresses from compounds released by human activity including plastics, mixtures of pollutants in river discharge and industry spills at sea. We are developing novel models to track the fate and biological impact of microplastics, in particular their interference to zooplankton feeding. Our models also track the development of environmental conditions that can promote harmful algal blooms (HABs) and support the EU Marine Directive by simulating the indicators of Good Environmental Status (GES).

Marine MicroplasticsHarmful Algal BloomsGES Indicators


Discovery Science

Discovery science refers to our research that is driven by curiosity rather than strategic priorities. Asking fundamental questions about how the world works often turns out to have wide-ranging social and economic benefits. Here we showcase new and exciting developments of specific features of the ERSEM model. This section currently focuses on process model developments that make ERSEM one of the most powerful and flexible ecosystem models in the field. 

Plankton Physiology Zooplankton

a circle of fish arranged on ice in a market stall


The oceans and especially our coastal seas are vital providers of food and nutrition for human society. We use models of marine productivity and ecosystems to drive fisheries models investigating different climate and management strategies. Aquaculture, the farming of shellfish and finfish, is already a huge global industry which will likely have to expand to meet future needs. We use our ecosystem models to better understand how aquaculture interacts with the surrounding environment and how it may be affected by climate and other human-induced changes.

Aquaculture Fisheries

Crashing waves in rough sea

Predicting Change

Climate change, and associated phenomena, is one of society’s key concerns. Understanding what may or may not happen under future climate scenarios, and thereby identifying adaptation and management strategies is of prime importance. We have pioneered the development of ocean acidification models that project local and regional scale vulnerabilities. Our models allow us to assess the impact of climate change at different scales from global oceans over regional seas to coasts and estuaries.  

Climate ResponseOcean Acidification Scaling Climate Response
High performance computer close up in cabinet


To provide the best possible estimates of the state of the ecosystem, we apply and develop data assimilation systems that integrate models with observations such as satelitte imagery. Model validation tools and a repertoire of advanced statistical methods are also applied to further ensure the robustness of our models applications.

Model ValidationData Assimilation