Capability

The UK is a leader in marine ecosystem modelling, and has developed many classes of marine ecosystem models from those representing low trophic levels to size-based approaches to models of the whole food web. The UK has a key role in the development and application of ecosystem models, but also draws on experience from the international scientific community.

There are a limited number of model types, and various models within each type that can be applied to ecosystem problems, so the challenge is the application of these methods to address specific management questions.

Parameterisation and validation of large complex ecosystem models often relies on limited data sets, so there is a challenge to make best use of existing data. To encompass a wide range of both physical and biological processes, models often need to be coupled, which is usually a technical challenge and may affect the mechanics of the individual components. The UK is a leading proponent of the application of ecosystem models, the coupling of models, and development of ensemble approaches.

Figure: Components that can be included in ecosystem models and potential interactions (Copyright, Beth Fulton, CSIRO, Australia).