Defining the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem
The Gulf of Mexico Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) team has undertaken several conceptual modeling efforts to elicit subject matter expert opinion and engage stakeholders in conceptualizing the integrated systems of the Gulf of Mexico. The team utilizes a holistic approach for conceptualizing the integrated socio-ecological system in the GoM by incorporating metrics from all areas of the Driver-Pressure-State-Ecosystem Service-Response (EBM-DPSER) framework. Conceptual modeling efforts with the Gulf of Mexico IEA team have included in-person efforts to support group decision-making, web-based platforms that allow for real time collaborative thinking, and computer-based systems that support Fuzzy-logic Cognitive Mapping and allow for the testing of statistical significance of connections in the various systems and subsystems. These efforts have resulted in a series of conceptual models pertaining to various sectors of the ecosystem and the connections to human processes. One overarching result from this work is the integrated Socioecological conceptual framework used to guide indicator development for the GoM. Important to the framing of the Gulf of Mexico Socioecological conceptual framework are the links between humans, the coastal environments, and the species that inhabit these places.