Microsoft and UNEP Release New Biodiversity Modeling Tool
The United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, in collaboration with Microsoft Research, has released a cutting edge modeling tool known as “Madingley.” The tool is designed to simulate ecosystem changes at a global scale. It is distinguished by its emphasis on human impacts, both assessing and predicting the effects of human activities on both marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner praised UNEP’s work in developing Madingley, arguing, “The model is the first to couple all of the key biological processes and ecological theory that underpin the life cycle and behaviour of living organisms, from energy acquisition, to feeding metabolism, reproduction, dispersal and earth. The tool will improve understanding of the causes and impacts of degradation, helping scientists and governments develop avoidance and mitigation measures.”
Madingley is open sourced, meaning that users have access to the code and can work to adapt the program to specific or unanticipated tasks. The program’s creators are encouraging the scientific community to dissect and improve the current version. “Our model is a first working version which will hopefully encourage other scientists to become involved in developing this, or analogous, global models of life” said Drew Purves, Head of the Computational Ecology and Environmental Science group (CEES) and co-author of the initiative.
The full report on the Madingley Model can be found here.