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Decision Support Tool Visualizing Effects of Nutrient Reduction Goals on Fisheries Species Released

Published on: 02/14/2024
Region(s) of Study: Waterbodies / Gulf of Mexico
Primary Contact(s): david.hilmer@noaa.gov

The NCCOS Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Hypoxia Assessment Program (NGOMEX) has produced various ecosystem models that predict the effects of hypoxia on living marine resources.  Although such models have proven to be useful in the assessment of alternative nutrient management strategies, outputs have typically not been easy to transfer to management action.  In response, a co-produced, user-friendly decision support tool has been developed to assist managers in the analysis of alternative management strategies on ecosystem function, living resources, and fisheries revenue.

Figure 1. The GIS Dashboard interface of the NGOMEX output visualization tool. Credit K. Lewis and M. Shafer, UCF.

NCCOS funded scientists, led by Dr. Kim DeMutsert at the University of Southern Mississippi, initiated the development of the decision support tool.  An advisory panel composed of scientists and NGOMEX resource managers was convened and a survey conducted to guide the research and development of the tool.  This survey was used to guide the outputs and visualization methods that would be most useful for managers.   

The iterative process developed by the researchers resulted in an ESRI ArcGIS Dashboard. The tool provides managers whom are actively working to address hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico with easy-to-access information on the effects of planned actions and the ability to identify the effects of specific hypoxia nutrient load reduction scenarios on the biomass and distribution of ecologically and economically important living resources.

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