Developing Conceptual Ecosystem Models for Poole Harbour
Authors: Herbert, R.J.H. and Rivers, E.
Editors: Humphreys, J. and Hall, A.E.
Publisher: Pelagic Publishing
Conceptual models, typically presented as flow charts or diagrams, are a means of organising and presenting complex bodies of information about an ecological system in a way that can graphically illustrate key features, processes, system drivers and linkages.
Information from key sources of literature was used to create visualised models of key habitats in Poole Harbour: mudflats, saltmarsh and saline lagoons. Physical features coupled with relevant anthropogenic constructions, such as marinas or drainage inputs, are superimposed on notable wildlife assemblages, and linkages with species upon which they depend for survival are highlighted. Natural and anthropogenic stressors were mapped onto these elements, potentially allowing visualisation of risk areas and gaps in monitoring effort. Model development was an iterative process, with different perspectives offered by stakeholders within the Poole Harbour Study Group and staff and students from Bournemouth University. It is proposed that these types of conceptual models could provide valuable foundations for a discussion of new harbour management plans and other sites of nature conservation importance.