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Resource Ecology & Ecosystem Modeling Program

Ecosystem Indicators and Modeling: Meetings and Workshops

In April 2011, Sarah Gaichas and Stephani Zador participated in “Indicators of Status and Change within North Pacific Marine Ecosystems: A FUTURE Workshop,” sponsored by PICES (North Pacific Marine Science Organization). Held 26–28 April in Honolulu, Hawaii, the workshop was part of the FUTURE (Forecasting and Understanding Trends, Uncertainty and Responses of North Pacific Marine Ecosystems) Science Program. The stated goals of the workshop were to review potential methods for measuring ecosystem resilience, ecosystem-level indicators of status and change, methods to characterize uncertainty in these indicators, and common ecosystem indicators to be used for regional comparisons by the PICES’ community. The workshop had approximately 50 international attendees, with 14 presentations and several discussion sections. Stephani Zador presented “A recent indicator-based assessment of the eastern Bering Sea” reviewing the new 2010 Eastern Bering Sea synthesis in the Ecosystem Considerations SAFE report, which was extremely well received by the PICES community. Sarah Gaichas was invited to present “Uncertainty in ecosystem indicators: known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns,” which reviewed methods of estimating and communicating uncertainty across a range of indicator types. The workshop concluded with recommendations for further FUTURE ecosystem indicator development and application.

In May 2011, AFSC researchers Sarah Gaichas, William Stockhausen, and Kristin Holsman joined T. Essington (University of Wasington) and more than 15 other U.S. and international scientists at Woods Hole in Falmouth, Massachusetts, for an intensive Annual Surplus Production Modeling Workshop sponsored by the CAMEO program. Using data from more than 11 temperate marine ecosystems, breakout groups evaluated production trends and fisheries and food-web models for species and guilds from various ecosystems. The modeling and empirical work conducted by workshop attendees have identified possible universal patterns and emergent trends. Results from the workshop are slated for publication in a special issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series. The special issue will include papers authored by Gaichas, Stockhausen, and Holsman on the subjects of the effect of environmental and biological covariates on MSY (maximum sustainable yield) and Bmsy estimated from single species and multispecies production models as well as comparisons in harvest metrics resultant from food-web modeling approaches to fisheries management. Results of the workshop will also be presented during a special session at the American Fisheries Society annual meeting in September 2011 in Seattle, Washington.

Sarah Gaichas participated in the Society for Conservation Biology’s Second International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, in May 2011. Along with seven coauthors, she presented “Assembly rules for aggregate-species production models: Simulations in support of management strategy evaluation.” This work resulted from the May 2011 CAMEO stock production modeling workshop and is in preparation for submission to Marine Ecology Progress Series along with a set of companion papers from the workshop.

Also in May, Sarah Gaichas and Ivonne Ortiz attended the open science meeting of ESSAS (Ecosystem Studies of Sub-Arctic Seas). Sarah Gaichas presented an overview of the May 2011 CAMEO stock production modeling workshop titled “Using production models as tools to examine factors that influence productivity of marine systems: Contrasts across levels of aggregation, ecosystems, and drivers.” The production modeling was applied to 11–14 northern hemisphere ecosystems and results compared across systems, levels of species aggregation, and drivers. Preliminary management-relevant metrics and ecosystem attributes were presented and compared across methods and ecosystems. Ivonne Ortiz and Kerim Aydin presented a poster showing modeled seasonal movement of pollock as a function of prey density and temperature (measured as growth). Fish movement is part of the Forage Euphausiid Abundance in Space and Time (FEAST) model, a high resolution model that uses a Regional Oceanography Model System as platform and has two-way feedback with a Nutrient-Phytoplankton-Zooplankton-Benthos module. Both hindcasts and forecasts of FEAST will be run; in the forecast version, FEAST will be used as the real world model for management strategy evaluations.

In June 2011, Kerim Aydin attended the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee in Tromso, Norway, and presented a talk entitled “Developing ecosystem assessment models for the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.” He also summarized recent modeling work performed for FEAST and under the CAMEO program, as described above.

By Sarah Gaichas, Stephani Zador, Kirstin Holsman, Ivonne Ortiz, and Kerim Aydin.

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