Between 30th June and 10th July SAMS is hosting 24 students and researchers from around the globe who have come to study and discuss ecosystem modelling techniques. The summer school titled 'Modern Methods in Ecosystem Modelling' has attracted representatives from UK, Finland, Peru, France, Sweden, Mexico, Russia and Italy, to name a few. Participants have gathered for a unique opportunity to study a range of ecosystem modelling approaches all in one course. The workshop is being organised and run by SAMS reaserchers Drs Sheila Heymans and Vincent le Fouest with the help of funding from the EurOceans, Ocean2025 and Quest programmes. They have been joined by a number of guest tutors, all well known in the field of ecosystem modelling, such as Villy Christensen from UBC in Canada and Prof Dan Baird from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa.
Global challenges such as climate change and management of natural resources require an understanding of the processes and dynamics that underpin the mechanics of our environment. Over the past few decades a number of different ecosystem modelling approaches have been developed in order to quantify these processes. The summer school is unique opportunity for students and researchers from different modelling approaches to come together and learn how different approaches work. Eventually it is hoped that some aspects of the different modelling approaches may be able to 'talk' to each other and therefore increase our ability to model and quantify the complexities of ecosystems. Participants kicked off this week with a taster of the Ecopath with Ecosim (Ewe) approach. Ecopath was recently named as one of the worlds top 10 'momentous breakthrough achievements' by NOAA, recognising its tremendous contribution to the ecosystem approach to fisheries and marine resource management. Other modelling approaches to be covered include Ecological Network Analysis, Inverse Modelling, sea-ice modelling, plankton modelling and POLCOMMS.
So far the summer school is a great success and both tutors and participants are already asking when the next summer school will be!