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Zoo and Phytoplankton EOV products

The Zoo and Phytoplankton EOV Products Virtual Lab was developed by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), in collaboration with the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Sorbonne University and GeoHydrodynamics and Environment Research (GHER) at the University of Liège.

This demonstrator provides a methodology to generate:

  • zooplankton products based on in situ observations of the abundance of different zooplankton species in a region encompassing the North-East Atlantic;
  • global ocean three-dimensional (3D) key phytoplankton products of chlorophyll-a (Chla) concentration, as a proxy for total phytoplankton biomass and phytoplankton functional types, as a proxy for phytoplankton diversity;
  • a mechanistic model using near real-time data to quantify the relative contributions of the bottom-up and top-down drivers in phytoplankton dynamics.

The Zoo and Phytoplankton EOV demonstrator provides a description of the current state of the plankton communities and forecasts their evolution, representing valuable information for the modelling, assessment and management of the marine ecosystem. It is useful for a variety of communities:

  • Fisheries advisory organisations can use these plankton products to study the availability of food resources for fish stocks and assess the effects on fish stocks.
  • Marine policy officers will have the needed support to address threats such as food insecurity, as foreseen under the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.
  • Fundamental research (e.g. researchers and consultants from environmental agencies) contributing to the understanding of the environmental conditions and top-down factors at new scales of observations (e.g. regional/global, seasonal and time series).


Zooplankton EOV generates zooplankton gridded maps of six zooplankton species in the North East Atlantic.The workflow uses the DIVAnd software tool (Data Interpolating Variational Analysis in n dimensions) that allows to interpolate sparse in situ measurements onto a regular grid in an optimal way.

Phytoplankton EOV generates global open ocean 3D gridded products of (1) chlorophyll a concentration (Chla), which is a proxy of the total phytoplankton biomass, and (2) Phytoplankton Functional Types (PFT), as a proxy for phytoplankton diversity, based on temperature and salinity in situ data matched up with ocean color satellite products.

Modelling phyto and zooplankton interactions enables users to calculate the relative contribution that limits the growth of phytoplankton by the drivers: nutrients, phosphates, silicates, light and zooplankton grazing.