System for biology based assessments

International maritime policies aim to achieve environmental sustainability through effective regulation and management of sea-based activities, such as transport, offshore energy, tourism, coastal development, fisheries, and aquaculture. Ecosystem based management (EBM) is the accepted regulatory mechanism for managing the sustainable use of marine goods and services while maintaining good environmental status. The SYMBIOSES RTD (Research & Technology Development) initiative creates a new modeling system designed to support the practical application of EBM as an effective management approach. SYMBIOSES is expected to move forward from today’s regulatory risk assessment procedures towards procedures that are more ecologically-relevant. The system connects individual models into a computational framework located on a supercomputer. It is designed to simulate marine ecosystem components in three dimensional space and time and predict impacts from selected combinations of sea based activities i.e. fisheries and petroleum operations. Model output will be visualised through a user-friendly graphical interface.

Integrated modelling framework

SYMBIOSES is used to assess lethal and sublethal effects of oil spills on the early life stages of a variety of fish species and their mature populations. It is for use in situations where there is a need to apply the best available knowledge to achieve a high level of ecological realism.


SYMBIOSES connects seven models into a computational framework that is operated by UNINETT Sigma2 – the National Infrastructure for High Performance Computing and Data Storage in Norway.

Work groups

Four work groups: decision support, fish ecology, biological effects, and system framework work together to deliver simulation results using SYMBIOSES.

Contact information: jlc@akvaplan.niva.no