IGN 20-5 - Mental models in mariculture: The right tools for bridging gaps, busting silos, and bringing stakeholders together

Thursday, August 10, 2017
C123, Oregon Convention Center
P. Sean McDonald1, Jonathan C. P. Reum1 and Glenn R VanBlaricom1,2, (1)School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, (2)Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, US Geological Survey, Seattle, WA
Nearshore aquaculture in US waters is both complex and contentious. As demand grows, practices evolve, and the industry diversifies, there is mounting tension among stakeholders and increasing uncertainty about ecosystem impacts. We advocate using qualitative network models (QNM), which are formalized mental models, to explore issues in coupled aquaculture-marine ecosystems. The QNM approach can be applied where quantitative data are scarce and/or interdisciplinary questions require input of disparate information sources. Moreover, mental models are well suited for collaborative science because expert opinion and local and traditional ecological knowledge can be integrated and visualized.