Design and parameterization of a spatially explicit ecosystem model of the Central California Current
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Design and parameterization of a spatially explicit ecosystem model of the Central California Current

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Design and parameterization of a spatially explicit ecosystem model of the Central California Current
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    "Widespread declines in the status of species and habitats in marine ecosystems have led to calls for ecosystem-scale management as a strategy to restore our oceans. Implementing ecosystem-based management requires an understanding of the complex dynamics of marine ecosystems as well as an understanding of how humans fit into the system. The Atlantis modeling framework integrates physical, chemical, ecological, and anthropogenic processes in a three-dimensional, spatially explicit domain. As such, Atlantis can be a powerful tool for guiding ecosystem-based management. We present here the basic formulations and parameterization for the biology and physics of the Central California Atlantis Model (CCAM). For this work, we have built on the framework developed in NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-84, A Spatially Explicit Ecosystem Model of the California Current Food Web and Oceanography, adding spatial resolution and additional biological data that focus the model on central California. Our goal is to produce a robust simulation of the California Current ecosystem that will allow us to explore potential effects of natural and human-induced perturbations over a range of spatial and temporal scales. CCAM is bounded by the U.S.-Canada border in the north, Point Conception in the south, the U.S. shoreline to the east, and the 2,400 isobath to the west. The model extent is divided into 82 three-dimensional boxes, each containing up to 7 vertical water column layers. We link CCAM to the Regional Ocean Modeling System to force temperature and water fluxes, and we simulate food web dynamics using 62 biological functional groups: 5 bacteria/detritus, 8 plankton/algae, 14 invertebrate, and 35 vertebrate. We utilized historical biomass data to guide the calibration of CCAM, and throughout the calibration process we evaluated the model's ability to represent historical biomass trends under historical fishing pressure from 1950 to present. After calibrating and testing CCAM under a variety of conditions, we believe the model produces an adequate representation of ecosystem dynamics. Thus we are confident that CCAM will be a powerful management tool, providing a platform for addressing important hypotheses relating to the effects of perturbations (e.g., harvest), characterizing the potential trade-offs of alternate management actions, and testing the utility of ecosystem indicators for long-term monitoring programs."--Executive summary.
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