The main objective of BIOMAS is to build the necessary knowledge to define an individual based Sargassum model including the key components (growth response to limiting factors, nutrient uptake origin, biomass loss) to forecast Sargassum morphotypes proliferation at seasonal scale.

This will be achieved through a synergy between experimental work and modeling, the experimental work being guided by the model calibration needs. In situ sampling will allow us to validate the simulations.

The project is structured under the following WPs:

  • WP1. Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) Modeling. A DEB model of Sargassum will be built for each morphotype and will be used to design optimal protocols for experiments such that parameters will be accurately estimated.
  • WP2. Laboratory experiments. In-lab experiments will be carried out on single individuals of each morphotype to ensure a full control of environment (nutrient, light, temperature, salinity) and allow tracing nutrients uptake.
  • WP3. In situ monitoring. Focusing on morphotypes and elemental composition, sampling in Western (Mexico and Antilles) and Eastern Atlantic (Ivory Coast and PIRATA Cruise) will be carried out. Moreover, a smartphone app will be developed to allow every citizen to report the presence and proportions of the morphotypes along the coasts of the Tropical Atlantic.
  • WP4. Integration of the DEB model into a Lagrangian model (Ichthyop). Simulation of Sargassum growth, survival and transport forced by realistic physical-biogeochemical simulations will allow forecasting the algal biomass several months in advance in key regions.