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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 43, September/October 2007 Forrest, Robyn E.; Sea Around Us Project 2007-09

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SSSS Seeee e aaaa a     AAAA Arrrr r ouououou ounnnn ndddd d     UUUU Ussss sThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 43 – September/October 2007Ecopath with Ecosim 6:the sequelby Villy Christensen and Sherman LaiThe Ecopath withEcosim (EwE)approach, which hasbeen primarily developed atthe UBC Fisheries Centre,was in 2007 named as oneof the ten biggest scientificbreakthroughs in NOAA’s200-year history (http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/toptens.html#categories).The citation highlighted thatEcopath “revolutionizedscientists’ ability worldwideto understand complexmarine ecosystems”.Behind this lay a couple ofdecades of developmentwork accompanied by astrong dedication to usersupport and training,resulting in some 6000registered users in 155countries. The many years ofdevelopment have,however, also had a less-desirable effect. As we havebeen expanding theapproach, the softwareimplementing it has grownto be a rather complicatedentity, with limited abilityfor customization, e.g.,through addition ofalternative calculationmodules by otherdevelopers.  Also, makingthings worse, thedevelopment environment(Microsoft VB6) we haveused since the late1990sis no longer supported.EwE5 was technicallyreaching its limits, and wewere faced with a difficultdecision of whether tocarry on while the goingwas good, refurbish orrebuild.Motivation to overhaul isone thing; being able tosee it through issomething quite different.Too many successfulscientific softwares havefaced sudden death whenthey were redeveloped.Adding to such concern isthat, while it is feasible toobtain funding forapplication of tools andmodels, it is extremelydifficult to get funding fortool development. Wehave been fortunate,however, to get supportfrom the Lenfest OceanProgram(www.lenfestocean.org)for redeveloping EwE overa two-year period 2005-2007. The outcome of thisis a new release of EwE(6), developed in a new,integrated softwareenvironment (.NET) andtotally restructured so thatonly the key computationalparts have been ported,while all other parts,module structure, datahandling, user interface, etc.have been re-programmedas fully object-orientedprogramming.The new EwE6 has beenrestructured to modularizeits individual components,and we have completelyseparated the user interfacefrom the computationalcore so that we canimplement differentinterfaces - not just thestandard scientific but also,for instance, gaminginterfaces. Doing so wasactually the main reason forembarking on theredevelopment and this iswhere the focus will be forthe next phase of theLenfest Ocean FuturesProjectEcopath with Ecosimversion 6 (EwE6) isavailable for freedownload fromwww.ecopath.orgContinued on page 2 - EwE6Page 2Sea Around Us – September/October 2007The Sea Around Us project is a Fisheries Centre partner-ship with the Pew Charitable Trusts of Philadelphia,USA. The Trusts support nonprofit activities in the areas ofculture, education, the environment, health and human serv-ices, public policy and religion. Based in Philadelphia, the Trustsmake strategic investments to help organisations and citizensdevelop practical solutions to difficult problems. In 2000, withapproximately $4.8 billion in assets, the Trusts committed over$235 million to 302 nonprofit organisations. ISSN 1713-5214   Sea Around Us (ONLINE)The Sea Around Us project newsletter ispublished by the  Fisheries Centre at theUniversity of British Columbia. Included withthe Fisheries Centre’s newsletter FishBytes,sixissues of this newsletter are publishedannually. Subscriptions arefree of charge.Our mailingaddress is: SeaAround Us project,Aquatic EcosystemsResearch Laboratory,2202 Main Mall,Vancouver, BritishColumbia, Canada, V6T1Z4. Our fax number is (604)822-8934, and our email address isSeaNotes@fisheries.ubc.ca. All queries(including reprint requests), subscriptionrequests, and address changes should beaddressed to Robyn Forrest, Sea Around UsNewsletter Editor.The Sea Around Us website may be foundat www.seaaroundus.org and contains up-to-date information on the project.(www.lenfestoceanfutures.org).The Lenfest Ocean FuturesProject is designed to exploreways in which current fisheriesmanagement approaches can bemodified to become moreresponsible from social andeconomic as well as ecologicalperspectives. The project isdeveloping a new approach toevaluation of fisheriesmanagement through an EwE-based ecosystem modeling andvisualization methodologies,aimed at exploring managementscenarios in policy andmanagement workshops. Theproject relies on development ofthree technical components:optimisation of the ecologicalsoftware system, Ecopath withEcosim (EwE); development ofinteractive gaming software; andvisualization of the impacthumans  have on ecosystemsthrough fishing activities.  Theactivity will thus serve tosupport ecosystem-basedmanagement of fisheries, whileoffering a possibility for a groupof managers to quickly explorealternative scenarios andevaluate the potentialoutcome.During the many years we havedeveloped EwE, it has grown to avery complex and capablesoftware for evaluation ofecosystem-based managementof aquatic ecosystems (or for anecosystem-approach to fisheriesas FAO calls it). As discussedabove, this has led to very wide-spread use of EwE, to the degreethat there are now activeprojects and very capablemodelers using the approach inmost fisheries countries of theworld. The group of developershas, however, remained quitesmall, with most being attachedto the UBC Fisheries Centre. This,we find, is related to how the‘old’ EwE5 was structured withone big, interlinked codingblock. If a developer, as hashappened, wanted to create anew module for EwE5, thisentailed going into the existingcode, finding the variables ofinterest, adding new forms, etc.While this was all very feasibleand indeed straightforward todo, there was a major hurdle:maintenance. Whenever thecore developer group (i.e., CarlWalters and Villy Christensen)updated the master source code,the ‘private’ versions would beleft behind and the developerhad to download the newmaster code and then integratethe new modules again. Thisprocess had to be repeatednumerous times, and we see thisas a major reason for why thegroup of EwE developersremained quite small.With EwE6, we have broken withthe past. The programming ofthe new version is fully object-oriented, which ensures codeintegrity and enables multipledevelopers to work on the codesimultaneously. We have thushad a team of developers (seebox above) working on thesource code in parallel, andupdating the code daily througha web-based version controlsystem.To enable external developers(who can get access to the web-based source code on request)to create and easily maintainnew modules, we haveEwE6 has beendeveloped by JoeBuszowski, VillyChristensen, Fang Gao, JoeHui, Sherman Lai, JeroenSteenbeek, Carl Walters andWill Walters, Carie Hooverand Robyn Forrest.Continued on page 3 - EwE6EwE6 - Continued from page 1... in supportofecosystem-basedmanagementof fisheries,whileoffering apossibilityformanagersto quicklyexplorealternativescenarios ...Page 3 Sea Around Us – September/October 2007developed a ‘plug-in’ system,which makes it possible to querythe computational core at anumber of breakpoints, and thento replace sequences of thecalculations, perform newcalculation, obtain or pass onvariable values (for instance todisplay results or modify theprogram flow in other ways). Theplug-in system is also capable ofaccepting new modules, whichif dropped in the program folderthat holds EwE6, will integrate inthe Navigator and menu-systemof EwE6, without a recompilationof the program being necessary.It is thus now a major aspect ofEwE6 that it allows forcustomization of the approach.For example, if an agency officewants to present some specificanalysis and results to a fisheriesmanagement council, they canThe new EwE6 interface – a new look and feel offering increased flexibility. The ‘Navigator’ in the left panel has replaced theprevious versions’ button-bar navigation.straightforwardly develop a newinterface for EwE6, and it can becustomized with exactly whatneeds to be included. It can thuscan be under the control of theagency; yet, they can benefitfrom the shared facilities in theThe new EwE6 is developed with a computational corethat communicates with the data source and thescientific interface, as well as with ‘plug-ins’. The plug-insmay implement new interfaces (e.g., gaming), new scientificroutines and extract customized results.form of data storage systems, etc.,which will facilitate bothdevelopment and managementas well as making it easier tocooperate with other agencyoffices working with otherversions.EwE6 - Continued from page 2Continued on page 4 - EwE6A major aspectthat is beingfacilitatedthrough EwE6is that itallows forcustomizationof theapproachPage 4Sea Around Us – September/October 2007EwE6 can also be called fromother programmingenvironments, for instance from R.Given the rapid development ofthis environment (from which wehave learned in the design ofEwE6), we see this as an especiallypromising avenue. It is thuspossible to create routines foranalysis in R that can call the EwE6libraries, for instance to runEcosim, while giving andobtaining parameter estimates.We are also able to couple EwE6to other models using Internetprotocols and this is especially ofinterest for linking to UNIX-basedbiogeochemical models.Our focus with theredevelopment has, up to now,been on porting/redeveloping theexisting capabilities of EwE5, andas we are about to declare thispart of the development done(“Mission Accomplished”, youremember), we can focus on newelements. One developmentworth noting is a zoning tool,Ecoseed, which will form part ofthe EwE6 spatial modelingapproach, Ecospace. Thisdevelopment is being funded bythe David and Lucile PackardFoundation through the DukeUniversity EBM-ToolsDevelopment Innovation Fund,and involves building a ‘bridge’between Ecospace and MARXAN,a very widely used zoning tool.While the development of EwE6will continue for the foreseeablefuture, we are now reaching thestage with it where we can startthinking about user support. Twoinitial training courses are thusplanned for early 2008. One willbe in South East Asia and willfocus on participants in the GEF/LME projects in the region, whilethe second will be hosted by theGuinea Current LME project inGhana, and likely willinvolve participation from19 West African countries.EwE6 - Continued from page 3Daniel Pauly has been awarded the Ted Danson Ocean Hero Award at Oceana’s 2007Partners Event. The event is held annually in Los Angeles to honour individuals who havemade outstanding contributions to protection of the oceans. There are two awards: thePartners Award and the Ocean Hero Award.  The Ocean Hero Award is given to those who makecontributions through their professional work to improve the health of the world’s oceans.Previous honorees include James Cameron, Jean-Michel Cousteau and Julie Packard.The 2007 Partners Award was presented to Former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Prizewinner, Al Gore. The Partners Award was established in 1994 by American Oceans Campaign tohonour individuals who have made outstanding contributions through their personalcommitment tothe cause ofprotecting theworld’s oceans.Former honoreesinclude PierceBrosnan, RonHoward, HillaryRodham Clinton,Bill Clinton andTed Danson(founder ofAmerican OceansCampaign).For moreon Oceana, seehttp://oceana.org/international-home-nao/.Daniel Pauly, Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless, Anjelica Huston, Vice President Al Gore, MarySteenburgen and Ted Danson.Photo by Eric Charbonneau. Reproduced with permission from Oceana.Daniel Pauly wins 2007 TedDanson Ocean Hero AwardThe OceanHero Awardis given tothose whomakecontributionsthroughtheirprofessionalwork toimprove thehealth ofthe world’soceans


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