Advancing projections of phytoplankton responses to climate change through ensemble modelling

D. Trolle, J.A. Elliott, W.M. Mooij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


A global trend of increasing health hazards associated with proliferation of toxin-producing cyanobacteria makes the ability to project phytoplankton dynamics of paramount importance. Whilst ensemble (multi-)modelling approaches have been used for a number of years to improve the robustness of weather forecasts this approach has until now never been adopted for ecosystem modelling. We show that the average simulated phytoplankton biomass derived from three different aquatic ecosystem models is generally superior to any of the three individual models in describing observed phytoplankton biomass in a typical temperate lake ecosystem, and we simulate a series of climate change projections. While this is the first multi-model ensemble approach applied for some of the most complex aquatic ecosystem models available, we consider it sets a precedent for what will become commonplace methodology in the future, as it enables increased robustness of model projections, and scenario uncertainty estimation due to differences in model structures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-379
JournalEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • fresh-water cyanobacteria
  • shallow lakes
  • multimodel ensembles
  • environmental-change
  • community structure
  • blooms
  • restoration
  • temperature
  • predictions
  • challenges


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