Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography

2011 Spring Seminar Series

"The ATLANTIS NEUS Experience: Towards Ecosystem-level Understanding and Advice"

Jason S. Link
NOAA NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Monday, April 4, 2011
3:30 PM
Room 3200, Innovation Research Park Building I


Increasingly, a broad range of considerations has come to the fore in the context of living marine resource and ocean-use management. Multiple processes affect the function, structure and dynamics of marine ecosytems. The challenge has been to evaluate such processes simultaneously to understand the relative magnitude (and thus relative importance), spatio-temporal dynamics, interactions among, and responses of the ecosystem components to such processes. These processes range from among a suite of various drivers, including bottom-up forcing, top-down caps, and middle-out trophodynamics, in all the myriads of forms that this triad of drivers can take. One way to elucidate this broad range of considerations is to use full ecosystem models. Here I present one such model, ATLANTIS, as applied to the Northeast U.S. large marine ecosystem. This work presents a brief view of the structure of this "virtual ecosystem" including the dynamics of water mass flows, nutrients, lower trophic levels, upper trophic levels, fleets, and fishery markets. I then highlight the main features of the calibration and validation process of this virtual system, executed at three levels of dynamism. The results indicate that we can reasonably capture many of the main features of this ecosystem, particularly the dynamics of ecologically and commercially important biota. I also note instances where disconnects in our model validation exercise led to improved understanding of the ecosystem, followed by example scenarios and how their results could be used to inform living marine resource management in a strategic manner, particularly in the assessment of ecosystems. I conclude by discussing how one might utilize this modeling approach as an operating model towards the implementation of Integrated Ecosystem Assessments in particular and Ecosystem-Based Management in general.


Jason Link is a senior research fishery biologist working for the NMFS in Woods Hole. Having written one of the leading books on Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM), Dr. Link is currently applying EBFM and EBM principles as: the IEA lead for the NEFSC; chair of the Ecosystems Sub-Committee of the SSC of the MAFMC; co-chair or chair of various national and international ecosystem modeling working groups; co-chair or member of various national and international Task Groups on ecosystem indicators; co-chair, chair, member, or review panelist of various international working groups assessing numerous regional seas; and liaison between stock assessments, ESA consultations, and ecosystem assessments that better incorporate ecological and environmental considerations into living marine resource management, particularly predation on forage fishes. His research interests include Fish Feeding Ecology, Fisheries and Ecosystem Management, Large Aquatic/Marine Ecosystems, Planktivore-Zooplankton Interactions, Pelagic Communities, and Ecological Modeling, having published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles on these topics. Dr. Link received a B.S. from Central Michigan University and a Ph.D. from Michigan Technological University.

Reception before seminar at 3:00 PM

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