The Biogeochemical Flux Model (BFM) is a generalized biogeochemistry model based on a biomass continuum description of lower trophic levels in the marine environment. The major chemical and biological components are described in terms of functional groups by means of the theoretical concepts of Chemical Functional Families and Living Functional Groups (CFF and LFG; Vichi et al., 2015).
From a biological point of view, the biota is subdivided in three major LFGs: producers (phytoplankton), decomposers (pelagic and benthic bacteria) and consumers (zooplankton and zoobenthos). These broad functional classifications are further partitioned into functional subgroups to create a food web (e.g. diatoms, picophytoplankton, microzooplankton, etc.). These groups interact with inorganic and organic non-living CFFs to develop the biogeochemical cycles of major elements (C, N, P, Si, O, etc.).
From a mathematical point of view, the BFM is written in terms of a set of ordinary differential equations. Its formulation goes beyond the classical population dynamics models due to a functional approach to marine ecosystems. The model equations allow a direct coupling with hydrodynamic models in the form of partial differential equations of Advection-Diffusion-Reaction (ADR).

The BFM is a research non-commercial product. It is written in FORTRAN90 (UNIX systems) and made available to the scientific community. Model details are available at the model website

The global ocean implementation as coupling between BFM and NEMO is referred as PELAGOS (PELAgic biogeochemistry for Global Ocean Simulations; Vichi et al., 2007a,b).


Tomas Lovato

  • Vichi M., Cossarini G., Gutierrez Mlot E., Lazzari P., Lovato T., Mattia G., Masina S., McKiver W., Pinardi N., Solidoro C., Zavatarelli M. (2015): The Biogeochemical Flux Model (BFM): Equation Description and User Manual. BFM version 5.1. BFM Report series N. 1. March 2015, Bologna, Italy, pp. 89.
  • Vichi, M., Masina, S., and Navarra, A., (2007a) A generalized model of pelagic biogeochemistry for the global ocean ecosystem. Part II: numerical simulations. Journal of Marine Systems, 64, 110-134.
  • Vichi, M., Pinardi, N., and Masina, S., (2007b) A generalized model of pelagic biogeochemistry for the global ocean ecosystem. Part I: theory. Journal of Marine Systems, 64, 89-109.