Annette B.G. Janssen, Netherlands Institute of Ecology
George B. Arhonditsis, University of Toronto
Arthur Beusen, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
Karsten Bolding, Aarhus University
Louise Bruce, The University of Western Australia
Jorn Bruggeman, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place
Raoul-Marie Couture, University of Waterloo
Andrea S. Downing, Stockholm University
J. Alex Elliott, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster,
Marieke A. Frassl, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Gideon Gal, Kinneret Limnological Laboratory
Daan J. Gerla, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Matthew R. Hipsey, he University of Western Australia
Fenjuan Hu, University of Southern Denmark
Stephen C. Ives, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Bush Estate
Jan H. Janse, Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Erik Jeppesen, Aarhus University
Klaus D. Jöhnk, CSIRO Land and Water Flagship
David Kneis, Institute of Hydrobiology, Technische Universität Dresden
Xiangzhen Kong, Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Jan J. Kuiper, Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Moritz K. Lehmann, University of Waikato
Carsten Lemmen, Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht
Deniz Özkundakci, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries
Thomas Petzoldt, Institute of Hydrobiology, Technische Universität Dresden
Karsten Rinke, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Barbara J. Robson, CSIRO Land and Water Flagship
René Sachse, Potsdam University
Sebastiaan A. Schep, Witteveen+Bos
Martin Schmid, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
Huub Scholten, Wageningen University
Sven Teurlincx, Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Dennis Trolle, Aarhus University
Tineke A. Troost, Unit of Marine and Coastal Systems, Deltares
Anne A. Van Dam, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
Luuk P.A. Van Gerven, Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Mariska Weijerman, Wageningen University
Scott A. Wells, Portland State UniversityFollow
Wolf M. Mooij, Netherlands Institute of Ecology

Published In

Aquatic Ecology

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Aquatic ecology, Hydrodynamics, Water quality, Geochemistry, Biodiversity


Here, we present a community perspective on how to explore, exploit and evolve the diversity in aquatic ecosystem models. These models play an important role in understanding the functioning of aquatic ecosystems, filling in observation gaps and developing effective strategies for water quality management. In this spirit, numerous models have been developed since the 1970s. We set off to explore model diversity by making an inventory among 42 aquatic ecosystem modellers, by categorizing the resulting set of models and by analysing them for diversity. We then focus on how to exploit model diversity by comparing and combining different aspects of existing models. Finally, we discuss how model diversity came about in the past and could evolve in the future. Throughout our study, we use analogies from biodiversity research to analyse and interpret model diversity. We recommend to make models publicly available through open-source policies, to standardize documentation and technical implementation of models, and to compare models through ensemble modelling and interdisciplinary approaches. We end with our perspective on how the field of aquatic ecosystem modelling might develop in the next 5–10 years. To strive for clarity and to improve readability for non-modellers, we include a glossary.


Copyright 2015 The Author(s). This article was published as open access.



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