AM Seminar: Equation-free approaches to ecosystem management

Speaker Name: 
Steve Munch
Speaker Title: 
Fisheries Ecologist
Speaker Organization: 
National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA
Start Time: 
Monday, December 3, 2018 - 4:00pm
End Time: 
Monday, December 3, 2018 - 5:00pm
BE 169
Marcella Gomez


Feedbacks among diverse components of marine ecosystems create implicit trade-offs between disparate ‘ecosystem services’ such as fishing, marine mammal conservation, and eco-tourism.  To facilitate quantitative approaches to balancing these trade-offs, numerous mechanistic models of marine ecosystem dynamics have been developed. But ecology currently lacks the rigorous foundation that permits mechanistic modeling in physical systems and an alternative basis for ecosystem management is clearly needed.  I will discuss equation-free approaches to constructing near-optimal management policies based on attractor reconstruction and time-delay embedding. More recently, we have developed hierarchical approaches that make use of spatially replicated time series.  I will discuss the application of these to understanding the asynchronous dynamics of blue crabs on the US East coast and outline future prospects for using these methods to predict and mitigate extreme events in ecology.


Dr. Munch did his undergrad at Binghamton University in NY, double majoring in studio art (mostly sculpture and printmaking) and biology. He did his MS (1997) and PhD (2002) degrees at Stonybrook University (also in NY) on marine ecology and biological oceanography, with a focus on the evolution of fish life histories.  He did a postdoc with Marc Mangel at UCSC (2002-2005) in AMS.  From 2005 to 2010 He was a professor at Stonybrook U, again in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. After getting tenure there, he decided to move back to Santa Cruz to join the National Marine Fisheries Service where he has worked on transgenerational plasticity in fish life histories and on developing non-parametric approaches to ecosystem management.