Ecological Modeling within the Albemarle-Pamlico Region
This page, currently under development, will describe the role of ecological modeling as a key support function in the assessment, planning, and monitoring phases of APNEP. Also included will be information on place-based environmental models whose domain includes all or part of the APNEP region, as well as methods and tools to support model developers.
An example of APNEP’s use of modeling to promote program effectiveness is within the development of indicators and metrics to support APNEP monitoring. Here, the application of a suitable conceptual model is a crucial early step in the selection and development of indicators:
“Conceptual models interpret systems by organizing information on the structure and interactions of the system into an easily understood and sometimes visual format, which simplifies the process of identifying appropriate indicators. These models identify key ecological compartments and linkages between compartments. With the conceptual model, the various perturbations (pressures) are put into context with system ecology and potential responses. Several types of conceptual models can be used to organize and identify indicators. These models run the gamut from simple text describing an ecological system to complex, multifaceted flow charts that detail many of the compartmentalized aspects and interactions occurring with a particular ecosystem.” (USEPA 2007:28)
The conceptual model of the Albemarle-Pamlico regional ecosystem in the figure below was designed to guide preliminary APNEP indicator development.