Seasonal dynamics and stoichiometry of the planktonic community in the NW Mediterranean Sea : a 3D modeling approach

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The 3D hydrodynamic Model for Applications at Regional Scale (MARS3D) was coupled with a biogeochemical model developed with the Ecological Modular Mechanistic Modelling (Eco3M) numerical tool. The three-dimensional coupled model was applied to the NW Mediterranean Sea to study the dynamics of the key biogeochemical processes in the area in relation with hydrodynamic constraints. In particular, we focused on the temporal and spatial variability of intracellular contents of living and non-living compartments. The conceptual scheme of the biogeochemical model accounts for the complex food web of the NW Mediterranean Sea (34 state variables), using flexible plankton stoichiometry. We used mechanistic formulations to describe most of the biogeochemical processes involved in the dynamics of marine pelagic ecosystems. Simulations covered the period from September 1, 2009 to January 31, 2011 (17 months), which enabled comparison of model outputs with situ measurements made during two oceanographic cruises in the region (Costeau-4: April 27-May 2, 2010 and Costeau-6: January 23-January 27, 2011).