Modeling cumulative stressors on ecosystems

Ecological models such as Ecopath with Ecosim are increasingly used to investigate the effect of various stressors on ecosystems. A recent review of studies using such models found that more work is needed to address the compound effects of all relevant stressors.

Among the 166 studies considered, 60 considered stressors of climate change, 22 considered introductions of new species, 21 considered habitat loss and 20 eutrophication. Only 20 of the 166 studies investigated at least three stressors simultaneously, most focusing on a single stressor.

The authors call for the filling of gaps in approaches to harness to full power of EwE such as deriving functional responses to stressors, including human dimensions of change beyond fishing, and using systematic computational simulations to assess uncertainty.


A. Stock, C.C. Murray, E.J. Gregr, J. Steenbeek, E. Woodburn, F. Micheli, V. Christensen, K.M.A. Chan (2023): Exploring multiple stressor effects with Ecopath, Ecosim, and Ecospace: Research designs, modeling techniques, and future directions, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 869,