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Major themes | Theme 1 | MarQUEST

MarQUEST (Marine Biogeochemistry and Initiative in QUEST)

Leader: Prof Andrew Watson (University of East Anglia)

MarQUEST was led by Prof Andrew Watson (UEA), with 15 co-investigators at UEA/BAS, the Universities of Southampton, Essex, and Reading, and from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory.

MarQUEST developed new methods of validating ocean biogeochemistry models, making use of remote sensing ocean colour data, in situ data sets and ongoing observations from the major European programmes, CarboOcean and EUR-OCEANS. In the past, ocean biogeochemical models represented biological processes in very simple or rigid ways (e.g., single nutrient limitation, a single generic primary producer), limiting understanding of the role of ecosystems in the climate system. Increasing the complexity of models has presented new challenges for their validation; it is also not clear what the ‘optimal’ complexity of a model should be for any given real-world problem.

QUEST scientists cooperated in comparing various models, and examining more fundamental (physiological) approaches to understanding the planktonic ecoystem. MarQUEST also developed a module to simulate coastal ecosystems, usable in global ocean biogeochemical simulations. Finally, the project team generated an accurate physical simulation of the North Atlantic guided by data assimilation, into which ecosystem simulations can be embedded. This allows the variation in air-sea fluxes of gases (CO2, oxygen and dimethyl sulphide) from ocean to atmosphere to be quantified for the contemporary period.