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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 491 - Feature article
Realistic, complex marine food webs (left) complicate the simple paradigm of linear production and energy transfer across trophic levels (right). Image: Eileen Kearney

Kearney KA, Stock C, Sarmiento JL


Amplification and attenuation of increased primary production in a marine food web


Complex marine ecosystem models incorporate many sources of uncertainty, including the choice of processes included in the models, the functional forms chosen for those processes, and the values given to the parameters that define each process. However, few modeling studies have attempted to incorporate the interplay of these sources of uncertainty into the results of predictive simulations. Kearney et al. use a suite of model simulations to quantify how two sources of uncertainty (observational and measurement uncertainty, which constrains the parameters used in the model, and structural uncertainty regarding the functional form of non-predatory mortality) affect the transfer of primary productivity to higher trophic levels within an end-to-end ecosystem model that couples physics, biogeochemistry, and upper trophic level predator-prey dynamics.


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