Ecosystem models

We are developing ecosystem models of Tasman and Golden Bays

We are developing simulation models for the Tasman and Golden Bays area to test what is likely to happen to marine ecosystems under different scenarios. This enables managers, Māori and other stakeholders to explore ‘What if?’ questions, and consider the implications of potential management decisions.

Project leader: Ian Tuck, NIWA

What happens in Tasman and Golden Bays if…?

We are developing simulation models for the Tasman and Golden Bays area to test what is likely to happen to marine ecosystems under different scenarios. This enables managers, Māori and other stakeholders to explore ‘what if?’ questions, and consider the implications of potential management decisions.

We have developed and validated an ecosystem model using the Atlantis framework. The Atlantis model is a computer representation of the bays that can be used to mimic and help understand dynamics and flow-on effects. It includes everything in the ecosystem from sunlight and nutrients through to top predators and fisheries. This allows us to test different management or environmental scenarios to understand effects on the whole ecosystem. This Atlantis model is ready to use, so we are now developing appropriate scenarios to investigate.

These scenarios are being informed by consultation (through workshops) with Regional Councils, Māori, managers, and a range of stakeholders, to get an understanding of their concerns for the region’s marine environment, and the types of scenarios they would like to investigate.

We are also developing other food web and sizebased ecosystem models, and investigating ways to test and compare them to determine which are most appropriate and useful, and the level of complexity needed to answer different sorts of questions.

This work is linked with the Participatory tools project, which will use the models to determine the trade-offs that will result from different decisions.

Latest news and updates

Consultation opens re 2019–2024 strategy

Improving marine management is critical to New Zealand's future health and wealth, but research in isolation is not enough. Excellent engagement with, and participation from, all users and sectors of society is essential.

We therefore invite comment on our draft strategy for Phase II (2019–2024). This strategy has been co-developed with Māori and stakeholders.

Sun, sea, sand – and marine science

During Seaweek, more than 4,600 school pupils joined 6 Sustainable Seas researchers for 3 days of marine science fieldwork in Tasman Bay, as part of the LEARNZ virtual field trip Sustainable seas – essential for New Zealand’s health and wealth.

Tipping Points on Radio NZ

Tune in to tonight’s episode of Our Changing World (after the 9pm news) for an excellent in-depth piece that gets into the detail of what the Tipping Points project is investigating, and why.