Model Types Tools Available Today

A number of new model types are available today compared with the 1970s. Another question is 'to what extent have these new model types been applied in ecological modeling?' The question is answered by use of statistics on model papers published in Ecological Modelling. The number of papers published for the various model types in the first eight years of Ecological Modelling (1975-82) and during the last seven years (2000-06) have been compared (Figures 1 and 2). Today, Ecological Modelling publishes about 4000 pages per year, while the number of pages in the 1970s was c. 300-350 pages per year. Ecological Modelling does not cover all the models published, but statistics analysis carried out for the period 1990-2005 has revealed that this journal publishes 40-45% of all papers dealing with ecological models.

The number of model papers focusing on the classical model types, particularly biogeochemical models and population dynamic models, has increased due to the increased publication rate in Ecological Modelling and other scientific journals, but expressed in percentage these two types of models have decreased, because other model types including the recently developed model types have seen an increased application. For the period 1975-82, the applications of biogeochemical and bioenergetic dynamic models and population dynamic models are dominant. Fuzzy models, spatial distribution models, structurally dynamic models (SDMs), and models using catastrophe theory were used in the period 1975-82 but their application in ecological modeling was very modest and they were new and untested tools in ecological modeling. Particularly, SDMs, artificial neutral network (ANN), and individual-based models (IBMs) were more extensively applied from 2000 to 2006 (see Figure 2 and compare with Figure 1), but fuzzy models and stochastic models also seem to have attracted more modelers recently.

The use of static models, around 20, in the period 2000-06 is due to wide application of the software ECOPATH, that is used particularly for fishery models and models of various types of aquatic ecosystems.

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