Serving many at once: How a database approach can create unity in dynamical ecosystem modelling

Wolf M. Mooij, Robert J. Brederveld, Jeroen J.M. de Klein, Don L. DeAngelis, Andrea S. Downing, Michiel Faber, Daan J. Gerla, Matthew R. Hipsey, Jochem 't Hoen, Jan H. Janse, Annette B.G. Janssen, Michel Jeuken, Bob W. Kooi, Betty Lischke, Thomas Petzoldt, Leo Postma, Sebastiaan A. Schep, Huub Scholten, Sven Teurlincx, Christophe ThiangeDennis Trolle, Anne A. van Dam, Luuk P.A. van Gerven, Egbert H. van Nes, Jan J. Kuiper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Simulation modelling in ecology is a field that is becoming increasingly compartmentalized. Here we propose a Database Approach To Modelling (DATM) to create unity in dynamical ecosystem modelling with differential equations. In this approach the storage of ecological knowledge is independent of the language and platform in which the model will be run. To create an instance of the model, the information in the database is translated and augmented with the language and platform specifics. This process is automated so that a new instance can be created each time the database is updated. We describe the approach using the simple Lotka-Volterra model and the complex ecosystem model for shallow lakes PCLake, which we automatically implement in the frameworks OSIRIS, GRIND for MATLAB, ACSL, R, DUFLOW and DELWAQ. A clear advantage of working in a database is the overview it provides. The simplicity of the approach only adds to its elegance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-273
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Community-based modelling
  • Database approach to modelling
  • DATM
  • Differential equation
  • Modelling framework
  • Programming language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Software


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