An application of an ensemble-based robust filter for data assimilation into an ecosystem model of the Cretan Sea is presented and discussed. The ecosystem model comprises two on-line coupled sub-models: the Princeton Ocean Model (POM) and the European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM). The filtering scheme is based on the Singular Evolutive Interpolated Kalman (SEIK) filter which is implemented with a time-local H∞ filtering strategy to enhance robustness and performances during periods of strong ecosystem variability. Assimilation experiments in the Cretan Sea indicate that robustness can be achieved in the SEIK filter by introducing an adaptive inflation scheme of the modes of the filter error covariance matrix. Twin-experiments are performed to evaluate the performance of the assimilation system and to study the benefits of using robust filtering in an ensemble filtering framework. Pseudo-observations of surface chlorophyll, extracted from a model reference run, were assimilated every two days. Simulation results suggest that the adaptive inflation scheme significantly improves the behavior of the SEIK filter during periods of strong ecosystem variability.