Simulating dispersal with Parcels, a Lagrangian simulator

Dr Paulina Cetina-Heredia1, Dr Erik van Sebille2, Professor Moninya Roughan1, Dr Mathew Chamberlain3

1UNSW, Australia, Sydney, Australia, 2Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University,,  Utrecht, Netherlands, 3Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Canberra, Australia

Parcels (Probably A Really Computationally Efficient Lagrangian Simulator) is a set of Python classes and methods to perform particle tracking simulations using output from Ocean Circulation models (Lange and van Sebille 2017). Parcels can be customized to track passive and active particulates like water, plankton or fish; coupled with climate models it can be used to forecast future dispersal and identify potential shifts in species ranges. Here we present an example to compute trajectories of larvae along southeast Australia coupling Parcels with velocity fields from an eddy-resolving hydrodynamic model. We briefly discuss options to customize the simulations to represent different species life traits or behaviours, and its utility to hindcast or forecast the impact of circulation on dispersal.


Paulina has a BSc in Oceanography,  a MSc degree in Physical Oceanography, and PhD from James Cook University. She is a postdoctoral fellow at UNSW  interested in understanding how ocean physics influence the ecosystems’ health; to date her research has focused on (a) elucidating drivers and dynamics of ocean transport pathways and eddies (b) understanding how ocean circulation, larval life traits, and physiology shape the transport and survival of larvae, and (c) discerning the effect of climate-driven changes of the oceanic environment and circulation on biophysical dispersion.

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