EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

AlterEco: Annual shelf sea net production from a fleet of autonomous gliders 

Tom Hull1, Naomi Greenwood1, Ben Loveday2, Tim Symth3, Mathew Palmer4, Charlotte Williams4, and Jan Kaiser5
Tom Hull et al.
  • 1CEAFS, UK
  • 2Innoflair, Germany
  • 3PML, UK
  • 4NOC, UK
  • 5UEA

The coastal shelf seas are a vitally important human resource for numerous ecosystem services, including food, carbon
storage, biodiversity, energy, and livelihoods. These highly dynamic regions are under a wide range of stresses, and
as such future management requires appropriate monitoring measures.  

A key metric to understanding and predicting future ecosystem change are the rates of biological production. Assessing
the variability in production at appropriate temporal and spatial scales is essential to accurately determine the fate
of carbon, and ecosystem health in these regions.  

Using high frequency data from a fleet of instrumented submersible gliders, we calculate oxygen based net community
production for an 18-month period in the central North Sea; a productivity hotspot and challenging environment for
long term monitoring with autonomous vehicles.
From these data we determine an annual depth integrated carbon budget, and we observe both the interannual and
seasonal changes in production.  

We compare these net community production estimates to the PAR and chlorophyll fluorescence based net primary
production estimates using the same glider fleet and supported by satellite earth observations. 

These observations and analysis are part of the AlterEco project, which seeks to demonstrate a novel monitoring
framework to deliver improved understanding of key shelf sea ecosystem drivers. 

How to cite: Hull, T., Greenwood, N., Loveday, B., Symth, T., Palmer, M., Williams, C., and Kaiser, J.: AlterEco: Annual shelf sea net production from a fleet of autonomous gliders , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-13460,, 2022.