This foresight workshop, to be held at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in May of 2015, will discuss the development of better models to understand and build on or improve the knowledge of marine ecosystems in the benthic environment. Participants will address the complex questions of benthic-pelagic interaction and biological-chemical feedbacks in the benthic environment. The conceptual framework that will arise from the workshop will be a key tool to develop next generation models. Developing a fully updated conceptual understanding of benthic-pelagic coupling will set the priorities for next generation models of the benthic-pelagic interactions and their response to global stressors. Identifying key issues concerning the calibration and validation of models will inform experimental and observation approaches.
The workshop will see the foundation of a trans-disciplinary community working on the benthic ecosystem and benthic-pelagic coupling with the ability to develop a coupled modelling-empirical approach and train new generations of scientists. The participants will produce a joint review/position paper setting the state of the art in terms of benthic modelling and pelagic-benthic coupling, identifying limitations and all the feasible ways to bridge the existing gaps. New trans-disciplinary expertise of the participants and the involvement of both computational modellers and field scientists could seed a MSCA European Training Network aimed at training new generation scientists with a cross-cutting set of expertise combining modelling and empirical approaches.