The "ecosystem approach" to marine management is attracting increasing attention.
Unfortunately, there is consensus neither to the precise meaning of this term nor
to how useful ecosystem assessments can be effected in practice given the huge
amount of heterogeneous data that is required.
Understanding interactions between biology and environment are of extremely
importance, as is the need to identify gateways critical for energy flow through
Preliminary combinatorial analyses has revealed several such gateways.
These can be used as benchmarks to assess the state of the ecosystem as a whole.
This investigation employs new algorithmic techniques to elucidate and interpret
complex relationships among quantifiable variables of significance to the North Sea
Relevant variables encompass a huge variety of biotic and abiotic factors.
Novel combinatorial tools and graph algorithms are used to uncover temporal and
spatial relationships on a large scale.
High performance parallel implementations are synthesized to extract variable sets
common to multiple relationships, to determine putative inflection points, and
to identify possible regime changes and other patterns of potential interest.
A long-term goal is to establish data dependencies upon which we can build
integrated ecosystem assessments that lead to conclusions about the impact of
anthropogenic and other agents upon the North Sea.