Ecosystem Based Management using Ecopath with Ecosim

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General information

Ecopath has more than 6.000 registered users in 155 countries. It uses the constraints of balancing energy and production in a food web to solve for unknown values and is useful for describing important interactions and knowledge gaps. Ecosim allows for time dynamic simulations of these fluxes driven by forcing data of either fishing or environmental change.

The Ecopath software was designed to enable construction of data-rich ecosystem models that can be used in the implementation of ecosystem-based fishery management, although in data-poor systems it shows the most important knowledge gaps for future research. It incorporates the effects of micro-scale behaviour on macro-scale rates and includes biomass and size dynamics for key groups. This has successfully been undertaken in over a hundred ecosystems and can provide insight into system evolution over time in response to changes in productivity and exploitation.

This course, led by Dr Sheila Heymans with the help of Dr Karen Alexander, will give you a comprehensive introduction to Ecopath, Ecosim and Ecospace. (We cannot give you all-inclusive training of all the routines possible with EwE in only 3 days, but we will give you a firm basis on which to explore). Sheila has worked extensively with Ecopath, Ecosim and Ecological Network Analysis (which could be undertaken as a separate CPD course if required), and Karen has worked with the newest version of Ecospace. Their research includes the use of these tools for marine spatial planning and ecosystem based management.

On the last day we will also address any individual questions that you might have – so bring a problem and we will see if we can discuss it during the afternoon of the third day. Your time will be split between lectures and tutorials, with a focus on hands-on development of simple models from scratch using the Ecopath with Ecosim software. Detailed programme:

Day 1 (27th January)

  • An introduction to models used for ecosystem based management of fisheries
  • The theory behind Ecopath
  • An introduction to the Ecopath software
  • How to create an Ecopath model
  • Where to get the parameters
  • How to balance a model
  • Using Ecopath to address ecological questions

Day 2 (28th January)

  • The theory behind Ecosim
  • How to fit an Ecosim model
  • Modelling the effect of environmental changes
  • Evaluating ecosystem effects of fishing
  • Evaluating the relative impact of climate and fisheries 
  • How to use Ecopath’s additional capabilities to address wide-ranging policy issues

Day 3 (29th January)

  • An introduction to Ecospace
  • Data needs and how to build an Ecospace model
  • Analysing the impact and placement of marine protected areas
  • How to use Ecospace for addressing the issues of MSP and MPA placement
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Venue: The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
Oban, United Kingdom



£395 (VAT exempt) including all course materials. You may want to arrange overnight accommodation in Oban if required. (This is not included in the course fee). 


The course will assume no prior knowledge of food-web modelling and is suitable for post-graduate students wishing to gain a solid introduction to ecosystem based management using the ecological modelling software, Ecopath with Ecosim, and its ecological network analysis interface.

Application Procedure:

Please apply for the Ecopath with Ecosim Course online, email or call 01631 559000. Only a limited number of places are available on this course and you would be joining our fourth year and Masters students. Places are limited to allow you one-to-one time with your tutor, so please book early to avoid disappointment.


Academic level: Master, PhD, Lifelong Learning
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