Evaluating red tide effects: A spatiotemporal ecosystem modeling in an operational management context

Tuesday 30 May 2023, 18:00 CEST (Brussels, Amsterdam, Madrid)

Talk description

Red tides are episodic perturbations that cause massive mortality of marine species that affect the state and functioning of ecosystems. They are increasing in severity and frequency and represent an important challenge for the management of some exploited species. The complex nature of red tides requires a holistic and spatiotemporal approach to comprehensively evaluate their effects on species, community, ecosystem state, functioning, and derived services. To model red tide effects on the marine community, we used Ecospace, the spatiotemporal module of the ecosystem modeling framework Ecopath with Ecosim. The inclusion of both lethal and sublethal response functions to red tide and a comprehensive calibration procedure allowed to quantify the red tide mortality, evaluate red tide effects, and increased the robustness of the model and management applicability. This study represents a step forward to operationalizing spatiotemporal ecosystem models for management purposes that may increase the ability of fisheries managers to respond more effectively and be more proactive to episodic natural mortality events.


Daniel Vilas is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and the NOAA Alaska Fishery Science Center. Currently, he is working on developing a framework for designing efficient and flexible fishery-independent surveys for the eastern and northern Bering Sea to address the challenges of limited resources and shifting species distributions while evaluating their expected effects on survey data. Daniel earned an MS in Oceanography and Marine Management from the University of Barcelona and his Ph.D. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Florida. During his Ph.D., he focused on spatiotemporal ecosystem dynamics on the West Florida Shelf with an emphasis on red tides. His research is broadly focused on understanding ecosystem processes and supporting ecosystem-based fisheries management using ecosystem and spatiotemporal models. Daniel’s long-term research interests involve applying statistics, the development of statistical models, and simulation modeling to address ecological questions related to ecosystem vulnerability, fisheries management, and climate effects.