IGPMS Winter Colloquium
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Marine Science Auditorium 1302
Earth Research Institute, UC Santa Barbara
“ Modeling larval connectivity in the Southern California Bight: The impact of hidden parameters”
Larval connectivity in the coastal ocean is defined as the exchange of planktonic larvae between nearshore subpopulations. Since many marine organisms spend their early lives as planktonic larvae dispersed by ocean currents, accurately predicting larval transport and connectivity is critical for understanding marine population dynamics and implementing environmental protection. The most widely used method for predicting larval transport is through the use linked ocean circulation and particle tracking models, termed “biophysical” models. Biophysical models, also known as individual based models, are well suited to simulate larval transport because larval physiology and behavior can be easily imposed on individual particles. When a biophysical model is used to simulate larval transport, the modeler must select three parameters, the number of particles released, the particle release depth, and the particle advection time. I call these hidden parameters because once they have been set, they are usually assumed to have little or no influence on the model results. In my talk, I will first describe how particle trajectories produced by a biophysical model of the Southern California Bight (SCB) are transformed into estimates larval transport and connectivity. Then I will show how larval transport patterns produced by the SCB biophysical model are sensitive to the hidden parameters and how model robustness can be achieved.