Six Words We Should Ban Unless Properly Defined: Complexity, Complicated, Validation, Mechanistic, Prediction, and Management

Tuesday, September 10, 2013: 9:20 AM
Harris Brake (The Marriott Little Rock)
Kenneth A. Rose , Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Ecological and fisheries modeling has evolved over the past few decades, but several issues remain unresolved.  Many of these issues are highlighted in this symposium, and include how complex is optimal, how to mix mechanistic and statistical approaches, use of a model for heuristic exploration versus forecasting, modeling for management, and validation. These terms have very different meanings within the scientific community and among stakeholders in the broader public. Often, lack of definitions, and other poor communication, leads to misunderstandings. While communication is part of the solution, there are also fundamental philosophical differences among scientists in what these terms actually mean and how to assess them in specific situations. I will use the examples of Delta smelt in the California Bay-Delta and salmon in the Klamath River to illustrate how both the communication and philosophical differences can lead to these terms causing contention.