While the UK has leading capability in ecosystem modelling, this capability is widely dispersed across the community in different member organisations using different types of ecosystem models for different purposes. Often groups are quite isolated from the policy makers that need model-derived products and this is one of the barriers to maximising the utility of UK ecosystem models in policy.
It is important to produce the right information from models to inform policy and this can only work where there is good dialogue between policy makers and modellers. Policy makers need to have confidence in model-derived products and be provided with information about the uncertainty around predictions, especially where policy and regulatory decisions could be subject to legal challenge.
Modellers need to improve the visibility of models and access to model-derived products, so that they become more widely used, and the methods are transparent. Finally, there is need for targeted development of ecosystem models to address specific issues including scales of applicability, validation, uncertainty, and data assimilation.
Figure: The interactions between marine organisms, their physical environment, and human pressures. Ecosystem models support the provision of advice on the conservation and exploitation of the marine environment. Crown Copyright, creasted as part of the Fizzyfish Project (MF1228).