An ecosystem is: "The functional unit of a biological organization interacting with the physical environment such that the flow of energy and mass leads to a characteristic trophic structure and material cycles." ~ Odum, 1969.
NOAA further defines the environment as "the biological, chemical, physical, and social conditions that surround organisms. When appropriate, the term environment should be qualified as biological, chemical, and/or social" (Murawski and Matlock 2006).
The J-SCOPE forecasts are developed to support the California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment. Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs) are a framework for informing ecosystem-based management, which aims to take into account interactions among ecosystem components and managed sectors, as well as cumulative impacts of a wide spectrum of ocean-use sectors (Rosenberg and McLeod 2005). IEAs are a synthesis and quantitative analysis of information on relevant natural and socioeconomic factors, in relation to ecosystem management objectives (Levin et al. 2009).
In the context of the California Current IEA, JSCOPE provides short term (six to nine month) forecasts of ocean condition that are testable and relevant to management decisions for fisheries, protected species and ecosystem health. Results will directly inform the IEA process, and will forecast indicators requested by the Pacific Fishery Management Council.