Lessons Learned Building Models for a Coral Reef Ecosystem


Jan. 24, 2007


Hill, RL
Appeldoorn, RS
Beets, J

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Galveston Bay Estuary Program


Tropical coral reef fisheries are ideally suited for ecosystem-based resource management because of the intricate linkages among species, trophic levels, and habitats. Models that realistically represent these relationships can be used to examine ecological changes within a single system or differences between systems. Differences may result from a variety of natural or anthropogenic causes, including fishing or habitat degradation. In this study, we evaluate ecosystem-based management concepts using ecologically based modeling. Paired Ecopath with Ecosim models have been constructed to compare ecological relationships between fished (impacted) and non-fished coral reef ecosystem. Data sources and reporting strongly affect our model construction, requiring design modifications. Simulations suggest that ecological targets can be defined based on conditions in the marine reserves and applied to the fished ecosystem. The model predictions may guide sustainable resource use and support ecosystem resilience. Model predictions serve as testable hypotheses.




ecosystem based management, models, tropical coral reefs