Numerical models are used extensively for marine research and also to guide management efforts in Chesapeake Bay and around the world. Many of these models are very complex.
For example, the Chesapeake Bay Program modeling system is composed of a set of sub-models of the airshed, watershed and estuary and it also includes living resource components such as submerged aquatic vegetation, oysters and fish. Each of these sub-models consists of a complex system of equations that have been developed implemented by experts in each field. Combined, the CBP modeling system is too complex for one person to fully comprehend, yet we have to rely on this system to guide crucial management decisions that directly impact numerous stakeholder groups.
One way to increase the transparency of complex models is through the use of open source and community modeling approaches that allow direct access to the code and encourage broad participation in the model development process. But these approaches create some significant challenges and they do not address the issue of how to increase transparency with stakeholder groups. For the latter we may need to employ new participatory modeling methods that directly engage stakeholders in the model development and/or application process.