Database-Driven Models of the World’s Large Marine Ecosystems

V. Christensen, C. Walters, R. Ahrens, J. Alder, J. Buszowski, L. B. Christensen, W. Cheung, J. Dunne, R. Froese, V. Karpouzi, K. Kaschner, K. Kearney, S. Lai, V. Lam, M. L. D. Palomares, A. Peters-Mason, C. Piroddi, J. L. Sarmiento, J. Steenbeek, R. Sumaila, R. Watson, D. Zeller, D. Pauly, (2009). Ecological Modelling 220, 1984-1996.

We present a newmethodology for database-driven ecosystem model generation and apply the methodology to the world’s 66 currently defined Large Marine Ecosystems. Themethod relies on a largenumber of spatial and temporal databases, including FishBase, SeaLifeBase, as well as several other databases developed notably as part of the Sea Around Us project. The models are formulated using the freely available Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) modeling approach and software. We tune the models by fitting to available time series data, but recognize that the models represent only a first-generation of database-driven ecosystem models.We use the models to obtain a first estimate of fish biomass in the world’s LMEs. The biggest hurdles at present to further model development and validation are insufficient time series trend information, and data on spatial fishing effort.