Advancements in modeling physical-biological interactions in fish early-life history: recommended practices and future directions

Grant awarded to:
Elizabeth North

Workshop co-Chairs:
Alejandro Gallego (FRS, UK)
Pierre Petitgas (IFREMER, France)

Team includes:
Zachary Schlag

Funded by:
National Science Foundation
Office of International Science and Engineering

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This grant provided funding support for an international workshop entitled “Workshop on advancements in modelling physical-biological interactions in fish early-life history: recommended practices and future directions” (WKAMF) co-chaired by Alejandro Gallego (UK), Elizabeth North (USA) and Pierre Petitgas (France).

WKAMF was held on April 3-5, 2006 in Nantes, France and was attended by ~50 participants from 14 countries. It was a great success! The goal was to evaluate the present state and next steps in the developing field of modeling physical-biological interactions in the early-life of fish. The workshop focused on recent advances in coupled biological-physical models that incorporate predictions from three-dimensional circulation models to determine the transit of fish eggs and larvae from spawning to nursery areas. These coupled bio-physical models have been applied to gain new insight on how planktonic dispersal, growth and survival are mediated by physical and biological conditions and have contributed to enhanced understanding of fish population variability and stock structure.

There will be three modes of results dissemination from the workshop: a workshop report, joint submission of papers for a theme section in Marine Ecology Progress Series , and a “Manual of Recommended Practices for Modelling Physical-Biological Interactions in Fish Early-Life History”. The report can be found on the WKAMF web site where the manual will be posted upon completion. The web site will be maintained to share information and advances related to modeling fish early-life with the international research community.

Feedback from early career scientists (graduate students or PhD received on or before 2001) indicates that WKAMF was a positive experience for the future leaders of our field:

It is probably the best workshop I have attended regarding pure modelling efforts.

I would say it is very useful for "new/young" scientists to meet and discuss with more experienced scientists.

For me it was the most useful meeting I have attended. The content covered exactly what I am interested in and the limited number of participants provided the possibility to chat with other scientists.

New-gained knowledge has proven useful already.

The workshop gave me a new and more comprehensive perspective about the use, the abuse, the potential and the inevitable limitations of bio-physical modelling in our field. Modelling will continue to comprise an important part of my research activities, both as a SOURCE and a PROOF of understanding processes acting in the sea.

[The discussions on the third day] were extremely valuable because we had to condense the information that was given through previous day's presentations, agree upon areas of modeling that needed the most development, and bring [together] groups of researchers from US and EU with similar interests to exchange ideas and potentially formally collaborate.

The knowledge will be highly useful because the content was broad in scope and leading (and often opinionated) scientists in the field presented their latest research findings. Such workshops often fuel the next round of proposals to grant agencies and help focus the work of graduate students. This one will be no exception.

WKAMF was held under the auspices of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Working Group on Physical-Biological Interactions and the ICES Working Group on Recruitment Processes. It was hosted by the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER) with support from IFREMER, US National Science Foundation, US National Marine Fisheries Service, UK Fisheries Research Services, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. It was endorsed by GLOBEC and Eur-Oceans. Many thanks to all involved!