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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 680:1-6 (2021)  -  DOI:

Marine research and management topics addressed by process-based ecosystem models

Solfrid Sætre Hjøllo1,*, Sonja M. van Leeuwen2, Marie Maar3

1Institute of Marine Research, 5817 Bergen, Norway
2Department of Coastal Systems, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, 1790 AB Den Burg (Texel), The Netherlands
3Department of Ecoscience, Aarhus University, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The earth’s oceans and ecosystems face climatic changes and multiple anthropogenic stressors. In the face of this, managers of the marine environment are increasingly adopting the ecosystem approach to underpin their decision making. Process-based ecosystem models (frequently referred to as dynamic models) synthesize existing observational and experimental knowledge into a numerical framework, but an obstacle to the incorporation of these models in management is the lack of credibility due to limited control of uncertainty in the results. The 13 papers in this Theme Section highlight how ecosystem models are, or can be, applied as management tools, and the various ways in which they quantify uncertainty and evaluate the skill. The papers span all levels of biological organization from individuals to populations and ecosystems, and cover a wide selection of anthropogenic pressures. Bearing in mind that the interpretation of observations is in fact also a model with representativeness error, we advocate a closer combination of observations and models to bring both methods forward. With the current challenges to the marine ecosystem and our uses of it, the more tools marine managers have in their ‘toolbox’, the better; dynamic modelling is one such very important tool, and its inclusion in ecosystem management should be continuously assessed.

KEY WORDS: Marine management · Ecosystem modelling · End-to-end models · Uncertainty

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Cite this article as: Hjøllo SS, van Leeuwen SM, Maar M (2021) Marine research and management topics addressed by process-based ecosystem models. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 680:1-6.

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