Decision analysis to guide Lake Okeechobee research planning
Decision analysis provides an organized, logical frame work for decision making under uncertainty. In brief, decision analysis should begin with thorough identification of objectives, attributes, and feasible management actions, followed by development of a probability model to characterize uncertain science and a utility or net benefits function to represent value. This approach results in an analytic framework that may be used to guide decision making and to answer questions such as: (1) is scientific understanding sufficient to act now, or should additional information be obtained? (2) if additional information is needed, what scientific research and monitoring should be undertaken to provide this information? (3) what, if any, simulation model should be used to evaluate and present scientific information for decision support? These research and modeling issues are explored in an application of decision analysis to guide research planning for the management of eutrophication in Lake Okeechobee, Florida. This paper describes decision analysis, outlines the Lake Okeechobee eutrophication problem, and explains the importance of the simulation model in research prioritization.