Decision Support System

Businessman pressing an Policy concept button.

The OceanCertain DSS

DSS are tools for policy analysis, allowing administrators and experts to interact and analyse alternative management options,  based on a combination  of data and process knowledge from multiple interacting domains. The DSS has been designed to serve as knowledge base and knowledge generator. More specifically, the Ocean-Certain DSS or shortly OC-DSS has been developed to examine the feedback mechanisms linking the ocean food web system to the social-economic system of the coastal zones.

Typical questions which can be addressed with the tool and will help support adaptive management are:

  • how will the combination of climate change, acidification, and different developments in the fishing pressure affect the ocean food web and social-economic sustainability of the local communities depending on it?
  • how significant is the response of these local communities to these changes for the ocean food web (role of system feedback) ?
  • which management strategies are most effective to improve the social-ecological sustainability of the system?
  • how will the sectors fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism, interact in the system and strengthen or weaken the effectiveness of these policy interventions?

keyboard with key for Decision Support

Together, the combination of metamodel simulations, system dynamics with the custom-designed GUI functionalities of ExtendSim make the OC-DSS a powerful tool for the evaluation and demonstration of policy alternatives under different climate and socio-economic conditions.  If necessary, one can avoid confronting the DSS users with the scientific complexity of the models and data used, provided the the indicators are carefully selected.  The generic architecture of the DSS offers considerable flexibility for replacing or adding stressor scenarios, policy options, model variables, and indicators, or even case studies.  The current version of the OC-DSS is flexible and computationally efficient.

Multiple types of use are envisaged for the instrument:

  • demonstration of the impacts of climate change and human-induced stressors (such as ocean acidification and overfishing) on the mid- and long-term dynamics of key environmental and social-economic indicators
  • evaluation, comparison and ranking of policy alternatives to mitigate or avoid undesirable consequences of these changes
  • supporting exchanges between natural and social scientists who collaborate in the domain of climate change, the coastal environment, and coastal economy
  • applications with similar objectives, but for different case studies as included in OceanCertain, or different problem contexts
  • further scientific testing of the usefulness and validity of metamodelling and system dynamics

More information on the design and functionalities of the OC-DSS is found in