In the North Sea advective transports are not negligible. Nevertheless, physical properties like sea surface temperature (SST) can be hindcasted with sufficient precision by vertical process water column models. Annual cycles of SST in the southern, central, and northern North Sea can be simulated using physical upper layer models with relatively small RMS errors. For the Fladenground Experiment (FLEX'76) in the northern North Sea the RMS error is less 0.3 degrees C for the 2 months of the experiment. This justifies the initial use, at least, of vertical process water column models in simulations for investigating transfer processes in the planktonic ecosystem. Experiments have shown that the simulated entrainment velocities at the bottom of the mixed layer during summer are critically dependent on the resolution of the forcing variables. The effects of this resolution on the annual phytoplankton dynamics will be discussed. Phytoplankton dynamics are strongly influenced by those of the zooplankton, and vice versa. Several field investigations have shown that, seemingly, phytoplankton cannot sustain the observed stock of zooplankton in the northern North Sea: there exists a gap between the abundance of phytoplankton and the need for it to maintain the zooplankton. Revisiting FLEX'76, the simulations with water column models of increasing complexity concerning detritus suggest that pelagic detritus can fill the gap in food availability for the zooplankton. If it is assumed that the zooplankton feeds also on detritus, the zooplankton experiences no food shortage.