UNEP, Microsoft Present First Global Biosphere Model
28 April 2014: Researchers at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Microsoft Research have developed the first computer model for simulating how organisms interact on a global scale. The model, named 'Madingley,' is able to provide long term predictions for the fate of ecosystems and identify risks to ecosystem services and the humans depending on them.
The model was presented in the research paper 'Emergent Global Patterns of Ecosystem Structure and Function from a Mechanistic General Ecosystem Model,' which was authored by a team of researchers and published in the open access journal PLOS|Biology. According to its creators, the model can be applied to any ecosystem and provide simulations at any scale. It covers almost all organisms and their interactions with each other and the environment.
UNEP highlights that the model's predictions were subject to extensive testing against real world events, and that these tests show the reliability of the tool in modelling all nonhuman life on earth, as well as the potential ability to predict the ecological consequences of future human activity.
Researchers interested in using or further developing the model can obtain access to the open source code on the Madingley model website. [UNEP Press Release][UNEP-WCMC Press Release][Video of Microsoft Research][Publication: Emergent Global Patterns of Ecosystem Structure and Function from a Mechanistic General Ecosystem Model][Madingley Model Website]