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Bridging the gap between ecosystem modelling tools using Geographic Information Systems Steenbeek, Jeroen


This paper is an adaptation of my M.Sc. thesis in GIS and Environment, which was completed September 2012 at the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences of Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK, in collaboration with the UNIGIS department at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and the Nereus Program at the Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. The effects of climate change and human interactions on marine ecosystems are felt throughout the world, yet these effects are still poorly understood. Research efforts to attain understanding are hampered by the limitations of present-day ecosystem models to address the interrelated dynamics between climate, ocean chemistry, marine food webs, and human systems due to the discreet sciences that these models derived from. This thesis seeks to simplify interdisciplinary model interoperability by separating its various technical and scientific challenges into a flexible and modular framework using open source GIS technology and common software development paradigms. A prototype of this framework is used to drive the food web dynamics of an existing and published marine ecosystem model with two spatial-temporal series of primary productivity. Results show that the predictive capabilities of the model enhanced by better reflecting observed species population trends, which is a promising step toward future implementations of the framework, such as in the ambitious end-to-end Nereus Model (Christensen, 2012).

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