Modelling the Marine Environment

We are internationally renowned for our expertise in modelling the marine environment and we host one of the largest and most experienced marine ecosystem modelling groups in the world. Our models enable us to gain a greater understanding of the dynamics and potential change of marine processes and systems, and we continually refine and build new models to address the emerging challenges facing the global ocean and society that depends upon it.

There are increasing calls from policy makers and ocean users to make projections of how the ocean may change and in turn affect the resources the ocean provides. Combining ecological, physical and chemical understanding into dynamic models of the ocean provides us with tools with which we can assess the vulnerabilities and opportunities of marine systems and promote good management.

We work at a range of scales encapsulating global earth-system models, regional seas and local systems such as estuaries and bays. Our research covers issues from climate change and ocean acidification, including mitigation to offshore energy, aquaculture, fisheries and good environmental status.

We collaborate with colleagues internally, nationally and across the globe applying models to a wide range of pressing questions, developing new methods to safeguard the sustainability of the ocean and increasing our understanding of how it works.

Making a difference

Our models are used to understand the implications and risks of global change and human activity and produce decision support tools that can be used by policy makers and regulators to inform choices over the optimum use of natural resources and the marine environment.

Further information

For further information contact Jerry Blackford ( or see our dedicated sub-site about the Marine System Modelling Group at PML.


Developing a model based understanding of ecosystem service regulation

Developing a model based understanding of ecosystem service regulation

Contact: Dr Jorn Bruggeman

The world's oceans and seas are home to highly diverse ecosystems and are characterised by the richness and abundance of species. Marine...



Contact: Dr Ricardo Torres

MyCOAST will develop risk management tools and a Coordination Atlantic Coastal Operational Observatory to improve coastal monitoring and...


Pressure control and conformance management for safe and efficient CO2 storage - accelerating CCS technologies

Contact: Jerry Blackford

Pre-ACT is a €5.2M project led by the Norwegian research institute Sintef. The objective of Pre-ACT is to equip operators and regulators of...

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Other recent news articles


Cooperation to tackle plastic pollution

PML researchers will be contributing to a new research project aiming to inspire international action to tackle marine plastic pollution.


Filling the gaps in marine ecosystem research

June saw the kick-off meeting of the £5m Marine Ecosystem Research Programme (MERP), jointly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). 


Science partnership to improve prediction of marine environment

As an island nation, the sea has a deep and profound effect on the lives of many communities across the UK. The seas around the UK influence our weather, climate and local environments.

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Selected key publications

Blackford, J; Artioli, Y; Clark, J; de Mora, L. 2017. Monitoring of offshore geological carbon storage integrity: implications of natural variability in the marine system and the assessment of anomaly detection criteria. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control. 64, 99-112. doi: 10.1016/j.iggc.2017.06.020

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. doi: 10.5194/gmd-9-1293-2016

Cazenave, PW; Torres, R;, Allen, JI. 2016. Unstructured grid modelling of offshore wind farm impacts on seasonally stratified shelf seas. Progress in Oceanography, 145: 25-41 doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2016.04.004.

Ciavatta, S; Kay, S; Saux-Picart, S; Butenschon, M; Allen, JI. 2016. Decadal reanalysis of biogeochemical indicator and fluxes in the North West European shelf-sea ecosystem, Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans. doi: 10.1002/2015JC011496

Clark, JR; Cole, M; Lindeque, PK; Fileman, E; Blackford, JC; Lewis, C; Lenton, TM; Galloway, TS. 2016. Marine microplastic debris: a targeted plan for understanding and quantifying interactions with marine life Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14, 317-324. doi: 10.1002/fee.1297

de Mora, L; Butenschön, M; Allen, JI. 2016. The assessment of a global marine ecosystem model on the basis of emergent properties and ecosystem function: a case study with ERSEM, Geoscientific Model Development 9, 59-76. doi:10.5194/gmd-9-59-2016.

Kay, S; Butenschon, M. 2016. Projections of change in key ecosystem indicators for planning and management of marine protected areas: An example study for European seas. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2016.03.003 (In Press)

Lessin, G; Artioli. Y; Queiros, AM; Widdicombe, S; Blackford, JC. 2016. Modelling impacts and recovery in benthic communities exposed to localised high CO2. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 109(1), 267-280. 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.05.071

Sk√°kala, J; Cazenave, PW; Smyth, TJ; Torres, R. 2016. Using multifractals to evaluate oceanographic model skill. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121, 5487-5500. DOI 10.1002/2016JC011741