Assessing Ecosystem Modeling

Full Title: Ecosystem modeling efforts in the Gulf of Mexico: current status and future needs to address management and restoration activities

Lead Investigator (Institution): James Simons (Texas A&M University Corpus Christi) james.simons@tamucc.edu

Co-investigators (Institution): Elizabeth A. Babcock (University of Miami), Arnaud Gruss (University of Miami), Skyler Sagarese (University of Miami), and Cameron H. Ainsworth (University of South Florida)

NOAA Technical Point of Contact: Scott Cross (scott.cross@noaa.gov)

Award Amount: $395,000

Award Period: September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2017

Summary: This project will conduct a comprehensive review and assessment of ecosystem modeling efforts in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and align current and future ecosystem modeling efforts with management needs and restoration activities. The investigators will first conduct an inventory of existing ecosystem models for the Gulf of Mexico and identify how well these models currently address management and restoration issues. The investigators will then describe how existing models could be improved and what new ecosystem models should be developed for the benefit of ongoing and planned management and restoration programs in the Gulf of Mexico. They will then convene a workshop that will serve to inform and elicit input from the management and research communities. The next step will be to test the capacity of existing models to predict the impacts of habitat and management actions in the Gulf of Mexico. The investigators will also link two internationally recognized global information systems on fish and marine organisms, a fish diet database, and one of the ecosystem modeling approaches employed in the Gulf of Mexico to develop a framework which will facilitate the future development of ecosystem models in the Gulf of Mexico.