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Combining ecosystem modeling with serious gaming in support of transboundary maritime spatial planning

Jeroen Steenbeek, Ecopath International Initiative (EII)
Giovanni Romagnoni, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Norway; COISPA Tecnologia e Ricerca, Bari, Italy
Jacob W Bentley, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, Scotland
Johanna J. Heymans, European Marine Board, Belgium; Scottish Association for Marine Science, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, Scotland
Natalia Serpetti, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, Scotland
Magali Gonçalves, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands
Carlos Santos, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands
Harald Warmelink, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands
Igor Mayer, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands
Xander Keijser, Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands; Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Rhona Fairgrieve, Formerly, Scottish Coastal Forum, Edinburgh, Scotland; Atkins, Glasgow, Scotland
Lodewijk Abspoel, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, The Netherlands

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-11580-250221

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Abstract

The Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Challenge simulation platform helps planners and stakeholders understand and manage the complexity of MSP. In the interactive simulation, different data layers covering an entire sea region can be viewed to make an assessment of the current status. Users can create scenarios for future uses of the marine space over a period of several decades. Changes in energy infrastructure, shipping, and the marine environment are then simulated, and the effects are visualized using indicators and heat maps. The platform is built with advanced game technology and uses aspects of role-play to create interactive sessions; it can thus be referred to as serious gaming. To calculate and visualize the effects of planning decisions on the marine ecology, we integrated the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) food web modeling approach into the platform. We demonstrate how EwE was connected to MSP, considering the range of constraints imposed by running scientific software in interactive serious gaming sessions while still providing cascading ecological feedback in response to planning actions. We explored the connection by adapting two published ecological models for use in MSP sessions. We conclude with lessons learned and identify future developments of the simulation platform.

Key words

Ecopath with Ecosim; Ecospace; marine spatial planning; MSP Challenge; planning support systems; serious gaming; simulation game

Copyright © 2020 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087