WP4.AZ3 - Processes of the surface mixed layer response to extreme weather events and the impact on the ecosystem-modeling and experimental studies to future scenarios

The sea surface layer is the only one to be in direct contact with the atmospheric forcing and it strongly influences both the underlying water column and the marine ecosystem. Its dynamics is complex and multiscale and it is only partially known. The action studies the offshore impact of phenomena from the mesoscale to the submesoscala on the interaction between the surface and subsurface layer, in terms of biogeochemical flows and productivity, focusing in particular on the response to extreme events (heat waves, severe disturbances, heavy rainfall). It uses remote observations and / or based on autonomous instruments, integrated with in-situ process studies and results from the model. Morover, it performs a study on the interannual variability of phytoplankton blooms, analyzing time series of satellite data of temperature, biomass, primary production and models in order to define the role of the physical forcing in the intensity modulation and the bloom duration.

Furthermore, this Action considers the abyssal circulation: functional and empirical / statistical models are developed in order to assess the food web resilience / vulnerability to global changes, comparing the results with the competition models. The responses of organisms to forcing changes are analyzed on the discriminable components of the communities with direct observations (abundances, physiology, reproduction, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics) and, if possible, they are analyzed / reproduced with experimentation in the laboratory or mesocosm on selected organisms.

Action leader Mariella Ferrante - SZN