A testable high-resolution spatial ecosystem model for inshore waters

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Mathematics and Statistics

Abstract

The aim of the project is to develop a high-spatial resolution ecosystem model of an inshore area of the west of Scotland focussing on secondary producers and their predators. We shall use a box-model approach to represent nutrients and primary production adapted from previous work, allied to a demographic representation of secondary producers and their principal predators adapted from a fish-focussed non-spatial ecosystem model currently under development (FRS funded) at the University of Strathclyde. The model will cover the region surveyed in the FRS 1991 Loch Linnhe programme (see diagram below) plus connecting waters; the Firth of Lorne from Luing northwards, the Sound of Mull and the whole of Loch Linnhe up to the narrows at the mouth of Loch Eil. The physical context of the ecosystem model will be set by the hydrodynamics of the system. These will be simulated using the POLCOMS model configured for the region of interest at a resolution of about 100m. Key drivers of the model will be freshwater inputs and winds. Although good fresh water run-in data are available for this area for both the 1991 hindcast period (Heath 1995) and for the present day, only rather generalized wind data exist. Since western Scottish inshore waters are located in mountainous terrain, wind circulation (and hence wind driven surface currents) show strong local heterogeneity, and it will be necessary to develop a local wind model, which can predict surface wind forcing in relation to local terrain. This model will be developed and validated against present-day behaviour observed as part of field data collection during this programme. The resulting validated wind model will then be used to drive POLCOMS under present day conditions, so that the flow predictions can be validated against observations. The combined models will be used to hindcast flow fields during the 1991 survey as drivers for the biological model. A key aspect of the biological modelling will be testing against the 1991 survey data. To this end the model will be designed to facilitate Bayesian parameter estimation using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods. Such estimation not only locates a `best-fit' parameter combination, but also evaluates parameter uncertainty and correlation; an invaluable tool during model development. For this purpose we shall develop models at a variety of spatial resolutions, running from a high resolution model at 100m scale, which will be primarily used in prognostic mode, down to a low resolution model at approximately 1km resolution, which will be used mainly for extended parameter exploration. We expect that the parameter estimation models will use a well established vertical scheme which divides the water column into surface (above the pycnocline), intermediate (tidally flushed) and deep (i.e. flushed only at turnover events) layers. However, to investigate sub-tidal cycle events we shall also construct a high resolution model with full water column representation.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The project is being run in two parts. The first part at the Scottish Association for Marine Science has been developing a POLCOMS hydrodynamic model of Loch Linnhe for the full year 1991. An intensive field programme was mounted in Loch Linnhe during that year and the model outputs are being compared with hydrographic and current measurements data from the field sampling. The model captures the key features of the circulation of the Loch.



The second part o fthe project is being run at the University of Strathclyde. Here, nutrient and plankton data are being used to develop a nitrogen mass balance model of the Loch, and identify the key plankton species which exploit the Loch hydrodynamics to enable their persistence in the system. Finally, a population dynamics model is being developed which integrates biology with the POLCOMSmodel outputs to test hypotheses about the behaviour of the plankton which enables their persistence
Exploitation Route The flow fields produced by the POLCOMS model are being used by Marine Scotland Science to sumulate the dispersal of sea lice from salmon farms in Loch Linnhe The flow fields produced by teh POLCOMS model have a variety of applications for government regulatory activity in relation to fish farming, and also for further academic research into the dynamics of coastal ecosystems.
Sectors Environment

URL https://pure.strath.ac.uk/portal/files/38711232/llllmeetingpresentation.pdf
 
Description The findings of the project are being used as part of a Scotland-wide unitiative organised by MASTS to focus on and understand the dynamics and economic potentials of a number of key inshore ecosystems. Loch Linnhe is one of these key regions. The PI and PDRA on the projecvt both gave invited presentations as a workshop organised under this initiative. The effort is ongoing and will continue beyond the funded period of the project
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Education,Environment
Impact Types Cultural,Policy & public services

 
Description Funding for zooplankton analysis
Amount £6,384 (GBP)
Organisation Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2012 
End 03/2013
 
Description Funding for zooplankton analysis
Amount £6,384 (GBP)
Organisation Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2012 
End 06/2013
 
Title Circulation model of Loch Linnhe 
Description Implementation of POLCOMS to simulate the hydrography and circulation of Loch Linnhe 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Data were provided to Marine Scotland as input to their assessment of the connectivity between fish farm sites in Loch Linnhe 
 
Title Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) and outputs for the Firth of Clyde 
Description Code for setting up an running a high resolution hydrodynamic model for the Firth of Clyde and a full set of model outputs 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Model output being used for particle tracking of Nephrops larvae dispersal. Code and outputs provided to Scottish Environmental protection Agency and Marine Scotland 
URL https://pure.strath.ac.uk/portal/en/datasets/finite-volume-community-ocean-model-fvcom-and-outputs-f...
 
Title Zooplankton analysis of samples from Loch Linnhe 
Description Zooplankton samples collected by Marine Scotland Science using the ARIES system in Loch Linnhe during 1991 were analysed at Plymouth Marine Laboratory 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Summer internship student project report 
 
Description Joint research with Fisheries Research Service (FRS) 
Organisation Fisheries Research Services (FRS) Marine Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution University of Strathclyde researchers worked on this project with researchers from Fisheries Research Service (FRS)
Start Year 2008
 
Description Joint research with Scottish Association for Marine Science 
Organisation Scottish Association For Marine Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution University of Strathclyde researchers worked on this project with researchers from Scottish Association for Marine Science
Start Year 2008
 
Description Participant in the following conference: MASTS Annual Science Meeting 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation of paper titled "Yi Ming Lai & Mike Heath Nutrient Budget for Loch Linnhe, a Scottish Sea-Loch"

Not recorded
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Participation in workshop / seminar / course at the following conference: Loch Linnhe and the Lynn of Lorn: A Case Study for the MASTS Dynamics and Properties of Marine Systems Theme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation of paper titled "Yi Ming lai & Mike Heath : Nutrient Budget for Loch Linnhe, a Scottish Sea-Loch"

Not recorded
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014