Modelling aquatic ecosystems with Ecopath, Ecosim and Ecospace

Warning message

The start date of this training opportunity has already passed

General information

This course will introduce basic concepts and modelling procedures of aquatic ecosystems. Participants will be provided with the principles behind EwE (, and how to design, parameterize and analyze an ecological model with Ecopath. Introductory concepts of the temporal module Ecosim and the spatial-temporal module Ecospace will be presented.

Programme information: 

  • Introduction to Ecological Modelling for aquatic systems
  • Introduction to Ecopath, Ecosim, Ecospace
  • Ecopath model: general principles and data needed
  • Balancing Ecopath models
  • Advanced features of Ecopath model
  • Introduction to Ecosim
  • Fitting models to time series of data in Ecosim
  • Introduction to the original Ecospace model
  • Introduction to the habitat foraging capacity model
  • Introduction to the spatial-temporal data framework
  • Introduction to programming with EwE

Practice work with portable computers will be developed to make sure participants understand the content of the theoretical lectures.


Contact Person: Barcelona Ocean (


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.


Venue: Institut de Ciències del Mar
Barcelona, Spain



Full price of this course is 450€. A reduced registration fee of 360€ is applied for early registrations (20 days before the starting of the course).


Special requirements: 

A personal computer for the class is required. Recommended readings could be useful to fully follow the course.

Recommended reading: 

  • Ahrens RNM, Walters CJ, Christensen V (2011) Foraging arena theory. Fish and Fisheries DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-2979.2011.00432.x
  • Christensen, V., Coll, M., Steenbeek, J., Buszowski, J., Chagaris, D., Walters, C.J., 2014. Representing variable habitat quality in a spatial food web model. Ecosystems 17, 1397-14
  • Christensen V, Pauly D (1992) ECOPATH II - A software for balancing steady-state ecosystem models and calculating network characteristics. Ecological Modelling 61:169-185
  • Christensen V, Walters C (2004) Ecopath with Ecosim: methods, capabilities and limitations. Ecological Modelling 72:109-139
  • Christensen V, Walters C, Pauly D, Forrest R (2008) Ecopath with Ecosim version 6. User Guide - November 2008. Lenfest Ocean Futures Project 2008:235 pp
  • Coll, M., Akoglu, E., Arreguín-Sánchez, F., Fulton, E.A., Gascuel, D., Heymans, J.J., Libralato, S., Mackinson, S., Palomera, I., Piroddi, C., Shannon, L.J., Steenbeek, J., Villasante, S., Christensen, V., 2015. Modelling dynamic ecosystems: venturing beyond boundaries with the Ecopath approach. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 25, 413-424.
  • Colléter, M., Valls, A., Guitton, J., Gascuel, D., Pauly, P., Christensen, V., 2015. Global overview of the applications of the Ecopath with Ecosim modelling approach using the EcoBase models repository. Ecological Modelling 302, 42–53.
  • Heymans, J.J., Coll, M., Libralato, S., Morissette, L., Christensen, V., 2014. Global Patterns in Ecological Indicators of Marine Food Webs: A Modelling Approach. PLoS ONE 9, e95845.
  • Pauly D, Christensen V, Walters C (2000) Ecopath, Ecosim, and Ecospace as tools for evaluating ecosystem impact of fisheries. ICES Journal of Marine Science 57:697-706
  • Shannon, L.J., Christensen, V., Walters, C., 2004. Modelling stock dynamics in the Southern Benguella ecosystem for the period 1978-2002. African Journal of Marine Science 26, 179-196.
  • Steenbeek, J., Buszowski, J., Christensen, V., Akoglu, E., Aydin, K., Ellis, N., Felinto, D., Guitton, J., Lucey, S., Kearney, K., Mackinson, S., Pan, M., Platts, M., Walters, C., In press. Ecopath with Ecosim as a model-building toolbox: source code capabilities, extensions, and variations. Ecological Modelling.
  • Steenbeek, J., Coll, M., Gurney, L., Melin, F., Hoepffner, N., Buszowski, J., Christensen, V., 2013. Bridging the gap between ecosystem modeling tools and geographic information systems: Driving a food web model with external spatial–temporal data. Ecological Modelling 263, 139-151.
  • Walters C, Martell S (2004) Fisheries Ecology and Management. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ (USA)
  • Walters, C., Christensen, V., Pauly, D., 1997. Structuring dynamic models of exploited ecosystems from trophic mass-balance assessments. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 7, 139-172.
  • Walters, C., Pauly, D., Christensen, V., 1999. Ecospace: prediction of mesoscale spatial patterns in trophic relationships of exploited ecosystems, with emphasis on the impacts of marine protected areas. Ecosystems 2, 539-554. Walters, C.J., Christensen, V., Martell, S.J., Kitchell, J.F., 2005. Possible ecosystem impacts of applying MSY policies from single-species assessment. ICES Journal of Marine Science 62, 558 - 568
  • Walters, C.J., Christensen, V., Martell, S.J., Kitchell, J.F., 2005. Possible ecosystem impacts of applying MSY policies from single-species assessment. ICES Journal of Marine Science 62, 558 - 568.

Application Procedure:

Cancelation policies

Cancellations by attendants

To cancel a place that you have booked for a Barcelona Ocean course, a notice of cancellation must be sent via email to The following policies apply:
• If you cancel at least 3 months before the start of the course you will receive a full refund.
• If you cancel between 3 months and 1 month prior to the start of the course you will receive a full refund minus a 10% administration fee.
• If you cancel between 1 month and 10 working days prior to the start of the course you will receive a 50% refund.
• If you cancel less than 10 working days before the event you will not be entitled to a refund.
There will be no refund for non-attendance to the course.

Cancellations by Barcelona Ocean

Barcelona Ocean courses are constantly updated and, while we endeavour to deliver the courses as advertised, there may inevitably be occasions when we will have to change some of the course contents or one or more of the lecturers without prior notice or, in very exceptional circumstances, to cancel an event.
In the case of a complete course cancellation, attendants will either be offered an alternative date, a credit note or a full refund. Barcelona Ocean will not compensate for travel fees or any other expense incurred by you as a result of such cancellation. Every effort will be made to avoid the cancellation of any planned courses.


Academic level: Master, PhD, Lifelong Learning
Occupations (not validated):
Spotted a mistake in this page? Click here to request a change.