Workshop 3

Integrated modelling to support assessment and management of marine social-ecological systems in the face of global change

Policy-and decision-makers need assessments of status and trends in marine habitats, species and ecosystems to ensure human activities in the marine environment remain sustainable, particularly in the face of global change in the Earth and social systems. This requirement enables (i) satisfactory planning and mitigation of impacts on marine ecosystems, (ii) adjustment of activities to avoid or limit actual or imminent impacts, such as in feedback management of fisheries, and (iii) satisfactory adaptation of human activities and industries to future change before problems arise for ecosystem services. Central to these assessments are statistical and dynamic models of habitats, species, ecosystems, human activities and social systems. A difficulty with most models is that they rarely capture all the spatial, temporal, biological and/or social scales needed for all assessment purposes. In particular, models at a specific scale (population, food web, regional, global) are rarely linked to models at other scales, nor is their performance necessarily consistent (bounded satisfactorily) with the behaviour of models at other scales.

This workshop will consider approaches to integrate modelling efforts to address societal questions on marine social-ecological system change and management. Social and natural scientists will work together to develop an inventory of models and modelling approaches in advance of the workshop using the SOKI wiki ( This will draw on the experience of IndiSeas (Indicators for the Seas), FISH-MIP (Marine Ecosystems and Fisheries), and MEECE (Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment).

The main objectives of the workshop are therefore, to discuss:

  1. Integrated modelling methods
  2. Standards for coupling models and data storage
  3. Future directions for integrated modelling of marine social-ecological systems, and ecosystem services. 
  4. How to support networking between modellers, and link modelling efforts to enable researchers to draw on the experience of others to build models that suit their needs. 
  5. Outputs of the workshop, including methods and protocols, will be documented on SOKI, peer reviewed and made available in the public domain according to the peer-review procedures of SOKI (as per scientific journals with accepted pages being published with DOIs)
  6. From the discussions, the workshop aims to provide a tool-box of models, input and output data and applications
  7. A special issue of Ecological Modelling will also be developed. 

This workshop will bring together natural and social scientists from the modelling community, as well as experts in policy and the human dimensions related to the marine environment.

Workshop 3 Conveners

  • Eugene Murphy (British Antarctic Survey, UK)
  • Barbara Paterson (Saint Mary’s University, Canada)
  • Andrew Constable (Australian Antarctic Division, Australia)
  • Jessica Melbourne-Thomas (Australian Antarctic Division, Australia)
  • Stuart Corney (Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Australia)

Keynote speakers

  1. Barbara Paterson (St Mary’s University, Canada) – Social science perspective 
  2. Icarus Allen (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK) – Natural science perspective