Workshop 1: Critical Constraints on Projections

Critical Constraints on Future Projections of Marine Systems

Marine ecosystems, and associated services, face numerous challenges from human activities: global climate change, ocean acidification, over-exploitation, pollution, habitat destruction… Future scenarios from global and regional models present a promising approach to explore drivers, attribution, consequences and potential responses to change. However, the ability to make reliable future projections of these threats, and to implement mitigation and management strategies, is constrained by knowledge gaps and uncertainties of both the human drivers and ecosystem response. Although some future projections of marine ecosystems and socio-economic impacts have been made, the associated uncertainties are largely unassessed.

This workshop will address approaches for improving scenarios, predictions and projections of future marine socio-ecological systems, with particular attention to quantification of uncertainties. The workshop aims to assess uncertainties ranging from those inherent to global warming projections to those associated with potential drivers, such as the demand for seafood and determinants of the success of fisheries regulations. Also, uncertainty in the data used to develop and evaluate scenarios and projections and potential effects on outcomes will be addressed. The workshop will also explore original ways to conceptualize, combine and/or reduce these uncertainties. 


The Critical Constraints on Future Projections of Marine Systems workshop will bring together natural and social scientists from a variety of disciplines to identify and discuss the most important aspects of uncertainty, and to explore ways to reduce these uncertainties in future projections. This includes improving ecosystem models for scenario testing and evaluation, considerations of the role of biodiversity, and discussions of direct anthropogenic drivers such as fishing. Attention will be given to potential drivers that are either currently not considered or are not adequately represented, with a focus on the development of fisheries scenarios and how to interface these with climate scenarios, with corresponding estimates and evaluations of uncertainties. The workshop will also consider approaches for model inter-comparisons, the role of natural variability, and developing emergent constraints from past observations (i.e., contemporary variability or trends from in-situ data and remote sensing observations, paleo-changes) and historical hind-casts. 

Outcomes and expected impact

The workshop will contribute to a synthesis of required improvements of ecosystem models, developed for multiple scales and systems, to allow projection and prediction of future states and evaluation through scenario development. This synthesis will provide guidance about the complexity needed for realistic scenarios and projections of future states and limits of realistic ecosystem predictability. The key objective of the workshop will be to design a database of critical observational constraints on marine systems, including ecosystem and human components. Selected needs of the community will be clarified, and available datasets identified, so that a database can be constructed and documented after the meeting. The database will be publicly available, hosted on the IMBeR website. The outcomes of the workshop will be presented in a synthesis paper targeted to a high-profile journal and/or in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal.

Keynote speaker: Eddie Allison (University of Washington, Seattle, USA)

Workshop conveners

Laurent Bopp, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE), France

Eric Galbraith, ICREA Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain