|Public Visualization Tool|
Life in the Chesapeake Bay is a six-minute video that tells the story of how oyster populations in the Bay have plummeted and the effect of that phenomenon on the current state of the Bay. The film includes a 'dream scene' illustrating how the Bay might look in the future if it is able to be restored. The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, the University of British Columbia, and the Lenfest Ocean Program used a gaming engine to create this public visualization tool featuring a three-dimensional-like look at the Bay.
Quantitative tools with user-friendly outputs can help all kinds of people to understand the effects of human behavior and the implications of management actions. The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office is using the Chesapeake Bay Fisheries Ecosystem Model and the gaming interface of Ecopath with Ecosim to develop such tools for the Chesapeake Bay. The power of computer-generated animation enables communication of scientific information to a much wider range of people than scientific products typically reach. This form of communication has a very strong potential for effective use in an education setting. The underlying concept—linking a scientific ecosystem model of the Chesapeake Bay to a gaming engine—also will be a powerful tool for communicating scientific simulations to resource managers and decisionmakers.