With increasing pressure for a more ecological approach to
marine fisheries and environmental management, there is a
growing need to understand and predict changes in marine ecosystems.
Dr. Brad de Young from Memorial’s Physics and Physical
Oceanography has developed a strategy to help researchers
design more effective models of the ocean environment. Dr.
de Young, working with colleagues from Scotland, the U.S.
and France, recently published the article, Challenges of
Modeling Ocean Basin Ecosystems in the June 4, 2004, issue
of Science magazine. In the article, the researchers build
upon recent advances in modeling and observations and develop
a new modeling approach for coupling across trophic levels.
Dr. de Young said that, “while biogeochemical and physical
oceanographic models are well developed, it is not possible
to simply paste the different models together to model zooplankton
and fish over ocean basins at climate time-scales. The difficulty
arises because organisms at higher trophic levels live longer
and vary in abundance and distribution at basin and decadal
scales. Marine organisms at higher trophic levels also have
complex life histories compared to microbes, further complicating
their coupling to lower trophic levels and the physical system.
There is no single, fully integrated model that can simulate
all possible ocean ecosystem states.”
“Advances in modeling marine ecosystems require coupling
numerical formulations across trophic levels that have differing
degrees of resolution and embedding these in a basin-scale
representation of the physics and biogeochemistry,”
said Dr. de Young. “We must also adapt our modeling
approaches to account for uncertainties in the data and in
our representation of processes.”
To read the full article, visit the Science magazine Web site