WP4: Marine Modelling

Implementation of results and research from the other WPs in growth models for kelp (e.g. S. latissimia) and other macroalgae.

Macrosea WP4 illustration

In WP4 we will implement the results and research from the other WPs in growth models for kelp (e.g. S. latissimia) and other macroalgae. The growth models are coupled with the 3D hydrodynamic-ecosystem model system SINMOD . This allows for studying how varying environmental conditions (e.g. nutrients, light, temperature) affect growth, composition and biomass production potential in macroalgae, and, conversely, how macroalgal cultures may feedback to the environment by taking up nutrients, shading light and reducing currents. An important part of the work is to implement population models for the individual based macroalgae models that take into account the effects of light (self) shading and mechanical interactions between individuals on the final biomass. Effects of fouling organisms will also be considered. The ultimate goal is that the model system may be useful as a decision support tool for macroalgal farming operations and management.


Status autumn 2019

Papers on IMTA (Fossberg et al 2018) and on the sugar kelp cultivation potential along the Norwegian coast and the surrounding waters (Broch et al 2019) have been published. In Fossberg et al we combine results from a field study with SINMOD and a kelp growth model while Broch et al is based on results from SINMOD coupled with the kelp growth model. Some of these results are being made available on web as a support tool for kelp cultivators and management. An advanced model for self-shading within kelp cultures has been implemented in SINMOD. This model will bli used with the results from the other WPs (nutrient uptake, fouling, drag) to approach a precise model based estimate for the kelp production potential at a given location. 


  • Broch OJ, Alver MO, Bekkby T, Gundersen H, Forbord S, Handå A, Skjermo, J, Hancke K (2019). Kelp cultivation potential in coastal and offshore regions. Frontiers in Marine Science. doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2018.00529 
  • Broch OJ, Tiller R, Skjermo J, Handå A (2017). Potensialet for dyrking av makroalger i Trøndelag. SINTEF Ocean OC2017 – A200. ISBN 978-82-14-06099-7.



  • Broch OJ, Skjermo J, Handå A (2016). The potential for large scale cultivation of macroalgae in Møre and Romsdal (in Norwegian: Potensialet for storskala dyrking av makroalger i Møre og Romsdal) SINTEF report. ISBN:978-82-14-06099-7.

  • Foldal S (2018). Morfologiske relasjonar til dyrka S. latissima ved tre stasjonar langs Norskekysten. MSc-thesis, NTNU 

  • Fossberg J, Forbord S, Broch OJ, Malzahn A, Jansen H, Handå A, Førde H, Bergvik M, Fleddum AL, Skjermo J, Olsen Y (2018). The Potential for Upscaling Kelp (Saccharina latissima) Cultivation in Salmon-Driven Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA). Frontiers in Marine Science 5:418

Status autumn 2018

The latest work has involved implementing an advanced model for self shading within kelp cultures in the SINMOD framework. This has been done in collaboration between SINTEF and Clarkson University through the Master's thesis of Oliver Evans who is finishing his MsC degree at Uni. Akron, Ohio. WP4 has also collaborated with WP2 through the MsC thesis work of Solveig Folldal. Her thesis (June 2018) involved a very detailed study of the morphometrics of cultivated sugar kelp. This work is important not only to understand the development of cultivated kelp biomass, but also to significantly improve the sugar kelp growth model in the SINMOD framework.

We are in the process of submitting a paper on the (joint w/ RCN-project KELPRO) cultivation potential for sugar kelp in Norway (figure below). Such information is important for the process of site selection, and is sought after by both industry and different management bodies.

Figure. Spatial index for the production potential of S. latissima in Norway based on SINMOD-simulations, with the kelp model, using model domains of 800 m horizontal resolution for the Norwegian coast. The index integrates information over depth and in time (3 years/cultivation cycles). The colored regions indicate the 6 coastal marine ecoregions in Norway: Skagerrak (dark blue), the North Sea (S) (orange), the North Sea (N) (yellow), the Norwegian Sea (S) (purple), the Norwegian Sea (N) (green), and the Barents Sea (light blue).


Status autumn 2017 (EN)

Regional monitoring programme with Saccharina (WP1, WP2, WP3, WP4):

Seeded ropes were prepared and sent from SINTEF Sealab to all participants for deployment at sea in early February. A few challenges occurred due to missing licences for some sites the first weeks and some struggled to get equipment and seedlings in place due to bad weather. We have still managed to get quite some good data sets from several locations. In addition to the industry partners our PhD and MSc students have done a great job with getting registrations done at the different locations. The monitoring programme is completed and we are currently doing analysis.

Implement light shading model, general individual-based population and farm model for kelp aquaculture (WP4):

A light shading model is being implemented. A population model (dynamical simulation of mortality, population structure and individual interactions) for kelp culture has been implemented and is being tested.


Ole Jacob Broch

Senior Research Scientist
Ole Jacob Broch
Senior Research Scientist
913 53 763
Environment and New Resources