Ecopath with Ecosim
Developer(s) Ecopath Research and Development Consortium
Initial release 1992
Stable release
6.5 / 7 July 2016
Preview release
6.5 Beta / 16 May 2016
Development status Released, active
Written in Visual Basic.NET, C#
Operating system Windows (EwE desktop version), Unix and Linux (EwE core via Mono)
Platform .NET Framework 4
Available in English
Type Ecosystem modeling
License GPL v2

Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) is a free ecosystem modelling software suite, initially started at NOAA by Jeffrey Polovina, but has since primarily been developed at the UBC Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia. In 2007, it was named as one of the ten biggest scientific breakthroughs in NOAA’s 200-year history. The NOAA citation states that Ecopath “revolutionized scientists’ ability worldwide to understand complex marine ecosystems”.[1] Behind this lie more than two decades of development work in association with Villy Christensen, Carl Walters, Daniel Pauly, and other fisheries scientists,[2] followed with the provision of user support, training and co-development collaborations. Per January 2012 there are 6000+ registered users in 150+ countries.


EwE has three main components:


The Ecopath software package can be used to:

The desktop version of Ecopath with Ecosim runs only on Windows and requires Microsoft Access database drivers version 2007 or newer. The computational core of Ecopath with Ecosim can be executed on other operating systems such as Unix or Linux using the Mono common language runtime.[14]

Development Ecopath version 6[15] received support from the Lenfest Ocean Program and the Pew Charitable trusts. In 2011 the Ecopath Research and Development Consortium was founded to share the responsibility of maintaining and further developing the approach with institutions around the world.


  1. NOAA, 2007. ECOPATH Modeling: Precursor to an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management [WWW Document]. URL (accessed 8.26.12).
  2. Smikle, S.G., V. Christensen and K.A. Aiken (2010). "A review of caribbean ecosystems and fishery resources using ECOPATH models". Revue Etudes Caribéennes, n°15,
  3. Christensen, V. and Pauly, D., 1992. Ecopath II - a software for balancing steady-state ecosystem models and calculating network characteristics. Ecological Modelling, 61:169-185.
  4. Walters, C., Christensen, V. and Pauly, D., 1997. Structuring dynamic models of exploited ecosystems from trophic mass-balance assessments. Rev Fish Biol Fish, 7:139-172
  5. Walters, C., Pauly, D. and Christensen, V., 1999. Ecospace: Prediction of mesoscale spatial patterns in trophic relationships of exploited ecosystems, with emphasis on the impacts of marine protected areas. Ecosystems, 2:539-554.
  6. Christensen, V. and Pauly, D. (Editors), 1993. Trophic Models of Aquatic Ecosystems. ICLARM Conference Proceedings 26, Manila, 390 p.
  7. Walters, C.J., Christensen, V., Martell, S.J. and Kitchell, J.F., 2005. Possible ecosystem impacts of applying MSY policies from single-species assessment. ICES J Mar Sci, 62:558-568.
  8. Christensen, V. and Walters, C.J., 2004. Trade-offs in ecosystem-scale optimization of fisheries management policies. Bull Mar Sci, 74:549-562
  9. Walters, C.J. and Martell, S.J.D., 2004. Fisheries Ecology and Management. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 399 p.
  10. Christensen, V. and Booth, S., 2006. Ecosystem modeling of dioxin distribution patterns in the marine environment. Chapter 6. In: J. Alder and D. Pauly (Editor), On the multiple uses of small pelagic fishes: from ecosystems to markets. UBC Fisheries Centre Research Reports 14(3). Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia [ISSN 1198-6727], Vancouver
  11. Guénette, S., Heymans, J.J., Christensen, V. and Trites, A.W., 2006. Ecosystem models show combined effects of fishing, predation, competition, and ocean productivity on Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in Alaska. Can J Fish Aquat Sci, 63:2495-2517.
  12. Christensen, V., Coll, M., Steenbeek, J., Buszowski, J., Chagaris, D., and Walters, C.J., 2014. Representing Variable Habitat Quality in a Spatial Food Web Model. Ecosystems 17, 1397–1412.
  13. Steenbeek, J., Coll, M., Gurney, L., Mélin, F., Hoepffner, N., Buszowski, J., and Christensen, V., 2013. Bridging the gap between ecosystem modelling tools using geographic information systems: driving a food-web model with spatial-temporal primary production data. Ecological Modelling 263, 139–151.
  14. Steenbeek, Jeroen; Buszowski, Joe; Christensen, Villy; Akoglu, Ekin; Aydin, Kerim; Ellis, Nick; Felinto, Dalai; Guitton, Jerome; Lucey, Sean; Kearney, Kelly; Mackinson, Steven; Pan, Mike; Platts, Mark; Walters, Carl (January 2016). "Ecopath with Ecosim as a model-building toolbox: Source code capabilities, extensions, and variations". Ecological Modelling. 319: 178–189. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.06.031.
  15. Christensen, V. and Lai, S., 2007. Ecopath with Ecosim 6: the sequel. The Sea Around Us Project Newsletter, 43:1-4 (September–October).

External links

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