Home / Meetings / IMBER OSC 2014 / Sessions & Workshops / Beyond ‘Z’: what modellers need and empiricists have to offer to better incorporate higher trophic levels and humans in end-to-end models

Beyond ‘Z’: what modellers need and empiricists have to offer to better incorporate higher trophic levels and humans in end-to-end models


  • Alistair Hobday
    Marine and Atmospheric Research, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
    Hobart, Australia
  • Kevin Weng
    Pelagic Fisheries Research Program, University of Hawaii, Manoa
    Honolulu, USA
  • Joel Llopiz
    Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Woods Hole, USA

Description of the workshop

Marine ecosystem models can differ greatly, but often focus on productivity-driven relationships between a few broad groups such as nutrients, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and detritus. Other, much more elaborate models can, to various degrees, also include aspects related to physics, biogeochemistry, small and large nekton, top predators, and humans. However, such end-to-end models are only recently being developed, and the appropriate inclusion of higher trophic levels and humans in such models is understandably challenging. The IMBER regional programme CLIOTOP (Climate Impacts on Oceanic Top Predators) would like to engage both the modeling community (biogeochemical and whole-ecosystem modelers) and the empiricists who study higher trophic levels, fisheries, and the socioeconomics of fisheries to outline the current state of our fields and the data that will be needed in the future to advance and parameterize large-scale marine ecosystem models. In addition to highlighting how empiricists can better contribute to the data needs of marine ecosystem modelers, we will focus on a subset of the following questions:

  1. What model constructions can support realistic representations of high trophic levels and humans?
  2. How are the various life stages (e.g. larval vs. adult) of upper trophic levels or human behavioral typologies accounted for in models?
  3. Can higher trophic levels affect biogeochemical cycles?
  4. What role do the mesopelagic micronekton play as an intermediate step between lower and higher trophic levels, and in overall energy pathways and biogeochemical cycles?
  5. How does exploitation and biodiversity loss impact biogeochemistry and food web structure?
  6. How will physical, chemical, and biological changes affect the distribution and abundance of upper trophic levels and, thus, the feedback into the system?
  7. How will such changes affect fisheries, economies and cultures?

The final set of questions will be selected following registrations of interest in the workshop, and question leaders nominated.


Session Programme

Oral Presentations

Monday 23 June, 09:00-10:30

Time  ID Presenter Title
09:00-09:25     W3+W7+W8 Joint introduction (overview of the three workshops, and a few words from the organizers of the Fish Model Intercomparison Project, FishMIP)
09:30-10:00 W8.O1 Costa, Dan Seasonality in the free ranging energetics of bottlenose dolphins 
10:00-10:30 W8.O2 Koslow, Tony Meso- and epipelagic fishes in the southern California Current System, ecological interactions and oceanographic influences on abundance: how can we model them?

Monday 23 June, 11:00-12:00

Time  ID Presenter Title
11.00-11:30 W8.O3 Lehodey, Patrick Optimization and evaluation of a micronekton model with acoustic data
11:30-12:00 W8.O4 De Boissieu, Florian Role of micronekton in pelagic ecosystems: new insights from integrated cruises in New Caledonia Coral Sea, Pacific Ocean and Mozambique Channel, Indian Ocean

Monday 23 June, 14:00-15:30

Time  ID Presenter Title
14:00-15:30   All General discussion

Monday 23 June, 16:00-17:00

Time  ID Presenter Title
16:00-17:00   All Preparation of the W8 synthesis. Discussion on the preparation of a potential synthesis paper

Monday 23 June, 17:00-18:30

Time  ID Presenter Title
17:00-18:30     W3+W7+W8 plenary synthesis (each workshop gives a ~20 minute summary, 30 minutes for open discussion)

Poster Presentations

Monday 23 June, 13:00-14:00, Official Poster Session for Workshops

ID Presenter Title
W8.P1 Karakitsios, Vasileios Case studies of palaenvironmental perturbations' effect on fish distributions
W8.P2 Somes, Christopher Trophic niche of squids: Insights from isotopic data in marine systems worldwide