The essence of the GreenSeas concept is to set-up a core service following the open and free data access policy implemented in the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme. The GreenSeas core service will deliver both new and historical plankton data and information products along with error-quantified numerical simulations to a range of users using state of the art web based delivery systems. It will build on historical data-sets, existing data delivery systems and ongoing multidisciplinary ocean planktonic ecosystem monitoring programs in the Atlantic, Arctic and Southern Oceans.

The project is broken down into 7 workpackages where WP1 is management and coordination

WP2 will collate historical plankton and associated environmental data sets on a global scale and analyse them for changes in biogeography and biodiversity. Historical data sets which cover the latitudinal gradient of planktonic data in the Atlantic from the Arctic to the Antarctic will be collated, quality controlled, merged and harmonized to make them inter-comparable. These datasets will be analysed using appropriate statistical analytical methods to examine spatio-temporal variation on a range of scales, and to classify planktonic assemblages into coherent biogeographic units. An important output from the analysis will be metrics to test model skill over a range of scales. 

WP3  will augment existing data collection activities by enhancing measurements relevant to process understanding and plankton modelling. By building on existing platforms e.g. the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) and the South African and Brazilian Southern Ocean monitoring programs we will expand the collection of plankton data through ocean surveys of, and experiments on, planktonic ecosystems to determine key biological processes (e.g. eukaryotic and prokaryotic fixation of inorganic carbon and nutrient utilisation, microbial growth, predation on prokaryotes and protists).   

WP5 will improve the quantification of the uncertainty in simulations of the planktonic ecosystem. By building on existing global modelling programs GreenSeas will apply state-of-the-art medium-resolution Ocean Biogeochemical General Circulation Models (OBGCM) to integrate the information available in the data set and better constrain future projections of changes in ocean biogeochemical conditions; in doing so we will improve the understanding and quantification of model errors. Making full use of data collected and collated by the project we will focus on hindcasting data rich periods and near-future climate scenarios.

WP6. By synthesising planktonic data, with model outputs and satellite ocean colour GreenSeas will define a range of planktonic biological, and environmental indicators.  Employing a comparative approach across ecosystems we will develop both a common method to compute and estimate ecological indicators of environmental status specifically for anthropogenic impacts e.g. fishing, harmful algal blooms and pollution, and a common protocol for elaborating ecosystem state. Due to the difficulty in establishing baseline levels and reference points for most ecosystem indicators, the comparative approach across ecosystems will provide a range of reference values (min, max) against which each ecosystem may be assessed. The comparative approach will also help in identifying robust ecological indicators that are meaningful and measurable over a set of diverse and contrasted situations, and in specifying their conditions of use.

Two key technological and communication workpackages:

WP4. Building on experience from previous EC projects, the Open Geographic Consortium (OGC) standards and the Inspire Directive, GreenSeas will develop a planktonic ecosystem database and implement a data delivery system which ensures open and free access to historical plankton data, new data (EO products and in-situ measurements), model data (including estimates of simulation error) and biological, environmental and climatic indicators to a range of stakeholders, such as scientists, policy makers and environmental managers.

WP7. To enhance cooperative links between GreenSeas and other surveys a Plankton Survey Stakeholder Group (PSSG) will be created. The purpose of this group is to propose a roadmap for the future development of sustainable integrated plankton monitoring and modelling on a global scale. We will disseminate research-based knowledge, expertise and skills from the project to the users (e.g. climate modelling community, Policy makers, advisory bodies, research managers, conservation and user groups, management bodies, all at European, regional and national level). We will also undertake Public Outreach; a more generic effort to connect to outside organizations, groups, specific audiences or to the general public. Our approach to both Knowledge Transfer and Public Outreach will be based on a two-way information flow, focusing on engagement with end users rather than solely upon dissemination or education.