acidification research at present and with what level of certainty (see Box 3.1).
The scope of modeling activities listed in the Strategic Plan is broad, ranging from process-based understanding (level of the individual cell to organisms) to broader-scale biogeochemical functions (e.g., primary production, carbonate production, etc.) to impact assessments including socioeconomic analyses. Similarly, the Strategic Plan discusses model studies that span phenomena over large scales in time and space. Scale appears as a central issue to modeling in both biological and physical domains. The structure of this section would be improved by categorizing along scales specific to the target processes or questions. Furthermore,
How Models Can Contribute to Ocean Acidification Research
Modeling studies serve in a range of ways to advance ocean acidification research. Modeling can be a tool for using in situ observations and experimental results to develop predictive algorithms that can be used to test hypotheses in an iterative and integrative fashion. Modeling is iterative because models evolve in response to new observational data. Modeling can also be used to synthesis and integrate data to bridge scales, in several different contexts: scales can be biological (e.g., from the scale of the single cell to the organism, the population, and the community), physical, (e.g., from the localized time series station to the ocean basin and beyond), and temporal (e.g., models can be run to simulate interannual variability or to look across centuries). Modeling allows for hypothesis testing over a broad range of phenomena and helps to formulate “What if?” questions and scenarios that project future consequences of changes in ocean pH. To allow for continuous improvements in the models, modeling requires close coordination with ongoing observational activities. For example, biogeochemical models are best integrated closely with observational networks: the rapid integration of measurements into operational modeling systems will ultimately provide the basis for near-real time environmental assessments and the development of early ‘warning’ systems (e.g., detection of strong coastal upwelling events that might be detrimental to shellfish farming). In addition, models allow the estimation of unknown or unmeasured processes. Incorporating ocean acidification into biogeochemical models (a short-term goal of the Strategic Plan and end-to-end models1 (a mid- to long-term goal of the Strategic Plan), need to be part of assessments aimed at the quantification of ecosystem and socioeconomic impacts. Models also can assist with the evaluation of impacts in the context of mitigation strategies or to help design more cost-effective monitoring strategies.
1 End-to-end models combine into a single modeling framework separate models representing processes across all trophic levels, from the lower end of single-celled primary producers up to top predators.