Improving Optics-Physics-Biology Coupling in Ocean Ecosystem Models: Optical Physical and Ecosystem Regional Assessment (OPERA) Workshop; La Spezia, Italy, 14–16 December 2009



Modeling three-dimensional coupled physical and biogeochemical processes in natural waters has developed over the past 2 decades to a stage where hindcasting and forecasting of ecosystem behavior are considered feasible. Constrained by physical variabilities such as wind, currents, density, and light, ecosystem models seek to reproduce and predict ocean biogeochemical cycles. The physical environment of marine ecosystems can generally be defined with confidence through ocean circulation models, which are largely independent of the ecosystem itself and represent the external forcing on ecosystem models. By contrast, the physical optics determining the distribution of light in the water column must be two-way coupled with ecosystem models.