Home > Explore Data & Reports > Ecosystem modeling in the Gulf of Mexico: current status and future needs to address ecosystem-based fisheries management and restoration activities
Region(s) of Study: Waterbodies / Gulf of Mexico
Primary Contact(s): frank.parker@noaa.gov


O'Farrell, H., A. Grüss, S.R. Sagarese, E.A. Babcock, and K.A. Rose. 2017. Ecosystem modeling in the Gulf of Mexico: current status and future needs to address ecosystem-based fisheries management and restoration activities. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 27:587-614. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11160-017-9482-1

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Many ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) measures and restoration projects have been implemented to address the stressors that have negatively affected the United States (U.S.) Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Ecosystem simulation models are useful tools for tackling EBFM and restoration questions. Here, we review the current status of ecosystem modeling efforts for the U.S. GOM and whole GOM large marine ecosystem and identify future needs to address EBFM and restoration in these regions. Existing ecosystem models of the GOM are diverse, ranging from simple conceptual and qualitative models to biogeochemical-based end-to-end models and coupled and hybrid model platforms. Many models have focused on understanding the structure and functioning of GOM ecosystems and the impacts of EBFM measures such as bycatch reduction strategies and marine protected areas. By contrast, a small number of ecosystem models have been used specifically to address the other EBFM issues of the GOM and to assess restoration efforts (e.g., marsh restoration). The demands for EBFM and state and gulf-wide restoration activities will both be increasing in the GOM. Therefore, there is a critical need to better employ and enhance existing ecosystem models of the GOM, and to develop new ecosystem models, to more comprehensively address the different EBFM and restoration needs in the region. We provide suggestions to facilitate this endeavor. The development of consistent libraries of ecosystem models and gap analyses such as ours will help fisheries scientists to effectively tackle specific resource management questions in the different marine regions of the world.

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