Modeling and Computational Science

    The health and resiliency of coral reefs are functions of hundreds of anthropogenic and natural forces acting in concert. Many of these factors are documented and known widely to even non-coral reef scientists throughout the world. However, coastal managers and scientists need to have some idea as to what might happen if they implement innovative interventions or disturbances to the ecosystems, as well as to the social and economic systems linked to those ecosystems.

    Coastal ecological and socioeconomic systems are too complex to make confident specific predictions, but coral reef science should be able to simulate the possible ‘outcome spaces’ of any given intervention or perturbation in the system.

    To help us better understand the real world NCORE is engaged in the development of interdisciplinary models to replicate certain important features of the systems in high-tech simulations. NCORE is involved in both classical equation-based modeling projects and projects to simulate complex non-linear systems with feedback loops, as one would expect in a coral reef ecosystem. The construction of these agent-based models rely heavily on NCORE’s cumulative understanding of coral reef ecology and its relationships to socioeconomic systems.

    Through ground-breaking interdisciplinary work, University of Miami scientists have developed models to assess damage and re-growth rates of corals after devastating hurricanes, established areas best suited for sustainable aquaculture and marine broodstock development, and have provided analyses of how marine larval dispersal and coral reef communities connect over vast expanses of open ocean.

 

Key Questions

 

How do we simulate the anthropogenic effects to the coral reef ecosystem in a data sparse situations?

 

What linkages and taxonomic attributes of the elements of a complex coral reef ecosystem that should be considered in developing models?

 

How do you initialize agent-based models and how do you analyze the emerging behavior of the global system?