Presentation Title

Can we have our herring and eat our salmon too? A qualitative approach to modeling trade-offs in the Puget Sound food web

Session Title

Session S-10D: Cross-Habitat Linkages and Landscape Scale Approaches to Ecosystem Management

Conference Track

Species and Food Webs

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2014 : Seattle, Wash.)

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Start Date

2-5-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

2-5-2014 3:00 PM

Abstract

Forage fishes in the Puget Sound estuary occupy a critical position in the food web, and only a few species (Pacific herring, surf smelt and sand lance) comprise the bulk of forage fish biomass. Data on forage fish abundance in Puget Sound are limited, yet regional management bodies have identified healthy forage fish populations as a critical component of a sustainable Puget Sound ecosystem. The challenge is to develop tools to aid forage fish management despite limited data. Furthermore, there may exist trade-offs among species for which there are recovery targets; these trade-offs are best explored in a food-web context. The simplicity of qualitative models, requiring only basic descriptions of species interactions (positive, negative or neutral), make them appealing as a management tool easily tailored to specific ecosystems and food webs. Here we use a qualitative modeling approach (loop analysis) to explore the potential effects of human activities such as shoreline development on forage fish species in a food-web context. For example, we predict the effects of loss of nearshore habitat on the abundance of forage fish species, accounting for direct and indirect interactions in the food web. We also assess the trade-offs inherent in this approach between food-web complexity/specificity, and the reliability of model predictions, by exploring multiple food-web configurations along a gradient of complexity.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Type

Text

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May 2nd, 1:30 PM May 2nd, 3:00 PM

Can we have our herring and eat our salmon too? A qualitative approach to modeling trade-offs in the Puget Sound food web

Room 611-612

Forage fishes in the Puget Sound estuary occupy a critical position in the food web, and only a few species (Pacific herring, surf smelt and sand lance) comprise the bulk of forage fish biomass. Data on forage fish abundance in Puget Sound are limited, yet regional management bodies have identified healthy forage fish populations as a critical component of a sustainable Puget Sound ecosystem. The challenge is to develop tools to aid forage fish management despite limited data. Furthermore, there may exist trade-offs among species for which there are recovery targets; these trade-offs are best explored in a food-web context. The simplicity of qualitative models, requiring only basic descriptions of species interactions (positive, negative or neutral), make them appealing as a management tool easily tailored to specific ecosystems and food webs. Here we use a qualitative modeling approach (loop analysis) to explore the potential effects of human activities such as shoreline development on forage fish species in a food-web context. For example, we predict the effects of loss of nearshore habitat on the abundance of forage fish species, accounting for direct and indirect interactions in the food web. We also assess the trade-offs inherent in this approach between food-web complexity/specificity, and the reliability of model predictions, by exploring multiple food-web configurations along a gradient of complexity.