MESOPP is working on three different micronekton models. One of them is Atlantis, with a Southern Ocean implementation being developed by the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC, the Australian Antarctic Division and CSIRO.

Atlantis [Fulton et al. 2004, 2011] is a modelling framework that was developed to support management strategy evaluation for marine systems  and includes dynamic, integrated representations of the biophysical system, human use and adaptive management. The Atlantis biophysical submodel is based on a system of irregular spatial polygons or ‘boxes’ in which ecological components are represented as either biomass pools or age-structured populations. An implementation of the Atlantis model is being developed for East Antarctica, specifically the southern Kerguelen Axis (Prydz Bay and southern Kerguelen Plateau, 50°E to 110°E, from the coast to 55°S). The Kerguelen Axis region is the most important location for primary production in East Antarctica, supports high value toothfish and icefish fisheries (on the northern Kerguelen Plateau), and is an important foraging area for marine mammals and birds.

The East Antarctic implementation of Atlantis currently comprises the biophysical submodel with 43 functional groups across the full spectrum of trophic levels (from bacteria to whales), 11 depth layers and 24 polygons (boxes). It also includes seasonal sea ice that provides habitat and nutrient cycling functions. The structure being used includes two types of mesopelagics: migrant and non-migrant. Acoustic data can be used to evaluate predicted biomass of the mesopelagic groups and potentially other micronekton groups (amongst the zooplankton and finfish).

The 24-box domain is nested in a larger domain (99 polygons) that covers the entire Indian Sector from 30°E to 175°E (out to 40°S) and the smaller domain is intended as a foundation for implementing this large model for the full region. The physical forcing for this Atlantis model is a circumpolar version of the Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS).


  • Fulton, E. A., Fuller, M., Smith, A. D. M. and Punt, A. E. (2004a). Ecological indicators of the ecosystem effects of fishing: final report. Australian Fisheries Management Authority Report R99/1546, pp. 116.
  • Fulton, E. A., Link, J. S., Kaplan, I. C., Savina-Rolland, M., Johnson, P., Ainsworth, C., et al. (2011). Lessons in modelling and management of marine ecosystems: the Atlantis experience. Fish and Fisheries, 12(2), 171–188.