UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Mass-Balance Models of Northeastern Pacific Ecosystems Pauly, D. (Daniel); Christensen, Villy; Haggan, Nigel


A one-week workshop was held at the Fisheries Centre, UBC, from November 6-10, 1996, during which ten invited participants, mainly from the scientific community in British Columbia, Alaska and Washington, and Fisheries Centre faculty and graduate students assembled the elements required for preliminary mass-balanced models of trophic fluxes in the Alaska Gyre, on the shelf off southern British Columbia, and in the Strait of Georgia. Such mass-balance models were urgently required, as no systematic attempt had been made to verify that commonly-cited biomass, production and consumption rate estimates published for various critical marine groups in these three systems (e.g. salmon, marine mammals), were mutually compatible. The construction of these mass-balance models not only allowed verification (or correction) of previously published flux and biomass estimates, but also identification of major gaps in knowledge, and cost-effective estimation of some of the previously unknown rates and biomasses required for assessment of marine carrying capacity in the Northeastern Pacific. Each workshop participant covered a functional group and its associated fluxes: phytoplankton and primary production, zooplankton and secondary production, major fish species and their fisheries, marine mammals and birds and their food consumption. Model construction was performed using the well-documented Ecopath approach and software, previously applied to over eighty aquatic ecosystems throughout the world, and of which a pre-release Windows-based version was applied during the workshop. This report documents the parametrization of the three above-mentioned models through short contributions authored by the participants, the construction and validation of these (still) preliminary models, then presents suggestions for their future development and uses.

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