A toolbox to evaluate data reliability for whole-ecosystem models: Application on the Bay of Biscay continental shelf food-web model

Type Article
Date 2014-08
Language English
Author(s) Lassalle Geraldine1, 2, 3, Bourdaud PierreORCID1, 2, Saint-Beat Blanche1, Rochette SebastienORCID4, Niquil Nathalie2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ La Rochelle, CNRS, UMR 7266, F-17042 La Rochelle, France.
2 : Univ Caen Basse Normandie, CNRS, UMR BOREA 7208, Inst Biol Fondamentale & Appl,CS 14032, F-14032 Caen 5, France.
3 : IRSTEA, UR EABX, F-33612 Cestas, France.
4 : IFREMER, Dept Dynam Environm Cotier, Lab Applicat Geomat, CS 10070, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
Source Ecological Modelling (0304-3800) (Elsevier Science Bv), 2014-08 , Vol. 285 , P. 13-21
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2014.04.002
WOS© Times Cited 31
Note DEVOTES (DEVelopment Of innovative Tools for understandingmarine biodiversity and assessing good Environmental Status)funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Pro-gramme,
Keyword(s) Food-web model, Ecopath, Model evaluation, Parameter uncertainty, Ecosystem-based management, Bay of Biscay
Abstract Ecosystem models are always simplifications of reality and as such their application for ecosystem-based management requires standard validation. Here, the “DataReli” toolbox is proposed to evaluate the quality of the data used during the construction of ecosystem models, their coherence across trophic levels, and whether data limitations prevent the model long-term applications. This toolbox is the combination of three operational and complementary analyses: (i) the pedigree index to determine to what extent a model was calibrated on data of local origin; (ii) the graphical analysis known as PREBAL to assess whether a model respects some basic ecological and fisheries principles; and (iii) a sensitivity analysis to evaluate the robustness of model predictions to small variations in input data. The toolbox is delivered to potential users with main generic recommendations on how interpreting results conjointly and on which decisions to make about parameters’ revisions or model uses’ restrictions. (i) Corrections of parameters should be preferentially envisaged when modelling data-rich environments. (ii) For those models with an overall pedigree index above 0.4, a closer look at the pedigree routine, i.e. values by parameters and compartments, and the PREBAL analysis would help to prioritize parameters needing improvement. (ii)’ For Ecopath models of no overall acceptable quality (overall pedigree index <0.4), we recommend stopping the DataReli procedure at this point. (iii) In terms of sensitivity analysis, marked responses of model predictions to small variations in the input values must preferentially lead to restrictions in the model applications compared to corrections of parameter estimates. A concrete application of the “DataReli” toolbox to the pre-existing Ecopath model of the Bay of Biscay continental shelf food web is presented. For the present case study, the general level of input data reliability is considered as satisfying with regard to the model applications.
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