Villy Christensen

Villy Christensen is an ecosystem model with a background in fisheries science . He is known for his work as a project leader and core developer of Ecopath , an ecosystem modeling software widely used in fisheries management . [1] Ecopath was originally an initiative of the NOAA , but was originally developed at the UBC Fisheries Center of the University of British Columbia . In 2007, it was named as one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in NOAA’s 200-year history. The citation states that Ecopath “revolutionized scientists’ ability worldwide to understand complex marine ecosystems”. [2]


Christensen did his Ph.D. under Sven Erik Jørgensen at Copenhagen University . Jeffrey Polovina initiated the Ecopath approach in the early 1980s. [3] Christensen, along with Daniel Pauly and others, has been involved in the subsequent development of Ecopath since 1990. [4] [5]

Christensen currently facilitates international workshops on Ecopath around the world. He is a professor at the UBC Fisheries Center at the University of British Columbia , specializing in ecosystem modeling . His main project is with the Sea Around Us Project working on “database-driven ecosystem model construction”, with the aim of using “global, spatial databases to parameterize, balance and fit ecosystem models”. [6] This work includes exchange Developing a dynamic model of biomass over time in the Chesapeake Bay area, as well as how marine protected areas can be optimally Positioned. [6]He is also director of the Lenfest Ocean Futures Project, [7] where a visualization system is being developed to support decision making in ecosystem-based fisheries management . This system combines Blender , a 3D-gaming engine, with Ecopath . [8] [9] [10] [11]

Selected papers

  • Wilson RW, Millero FJ, Taylor JR, Walsh PJ, Christensen V, Jennings S and Grosell M (2009) “Contribution of Fish to the Marine Inorganic Carbon Cycle” Science , 323 (5912) 359-362. (This article provides a first estimate of global fish biomass)
  • Pauly D , Christensen V, Dalsgaard J, Froese R and Torres F (1998) “Fishing down marine food webs” permanent dead link ] Science , 279 : 860-863.
  • Pauly D and Christensen V (1995) “Primary production required to sustain global fisheries” Nature 374 (6519): 255-257.
  • Christensen V (1996) “Managing fisheries involving top predator and prey species components” permanent dead link ] Review in Fish Biology and Fisheries , 6 : 417-442. (First published description of “fishing on the food web” concept)
  • Christensen V (1995) “Ecosystem maturity – towards quantification” Ecological Modeling , 77 : 3-32.
  • Christensen V and Pauly D (1992) “ECOPATH II – A software for balancing steady-state ecosystem models and calculating network characteristics” Ecological Modeling , 61 : 169-185. (Third-most cited paper in this journal)
  • Refereed publications
  • Non-refereed publications
  • Books and reports


  1. Jump up^ Ecopath with ECOSYMMain website.
  2. Jump up^ NOAA:ECOPATH Modeling: An Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries ManagementTop ten breakthroughs.
  3. Jump up^ Polovina JJ and Marten, GG (1982) “A comparative study of fish yields from various tropical ecosystems”. In: Pauly D and Murphy GI (Eds.)Theory and Management of Tropical Fisheries. ICLARM Conference Proceedings9, 255-286.
  4. Jump up^ Christensen V and Pauly D (1992)”ECOPATH II – A software for equilibrium steady-state ecosystem computing and calculating network characteristics” Ecological Modeling,61: 169-185.
  5. Jump up^ Christensen V and Walters CJ (2004)”Ecopath with Ecosim: Methods, Capabilities and Limitations” Ecological Modeling 172, 109-139
  6. ^ Jump up to:b Dr. Villy Christensen UBC website. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  7. Jump up^ Lenfest Ocean Futures Project
  8. Jump up^ MDM / UBC Ocean Viz Fisheries CollaborationYoutube.
  9. Jump up^ Fish Population Data Visualization BlenderNation, 9 April 2008
  10. Jump up^ Ocean120MB video.
  11. Jump up^ Ocean Summits and Virtual Fish: Games for a Sustainable Future

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