This article describes the use of group model building to facilitate interaction with stakeholders, synthesize research results and assist in the development of hypotheses about climate change at the global level in relation to UV-B radiation and ecosystem service valuation. The objective was to provide a platform for integration of the various research components within a multidisciplinary research project as a basis for interaction with stakeholders with backgrounds in areas other than science. An integrated summary of the scientific findings, along with stakeholder input, was intended to produce a bridge between science and policymaking. We used a mediated modeling approach that was implemented as a pilot project in Ushuaia, Argentina. The investigation was divided into two participatory workshops: data gathering and model evaluation. Scientists and the local stakeholders supported the valuation of ecosystem services as a useful common denominator for integrating the various scientific results. The concept of economic impacts in aquatic and marsh systems was represented by values for ecosystem services altered by UV-B radiation. In addition, direct local socioeconomic impacts of enhanced UV-B radiation were modeled, using data from Ushuaia. We worked with 5 global latitudinal regions, focusing on net primary production and biomass for the marine system and on 3 plant species for the marsh system. Ecosystem service values were calculated for both sectors. The synthesis model reflects the conclusions from the literature and from experimental research at the global level. UV-B is not a significant stress for the marshes, relative to the potential impact of increases in the sea level. Enhanced UV-B favors microbial dynamics in marine systems that could cause a significant shift from primary producers to bacteria at the community level. In addition, synergetic effects of UV-B and certain pollutants potentiate the shift to heterotrophs. This may impact the oceanic carbon cycle by increasing the ratio of respiratory to photosynthetic organisms in surface waters and, thus, the role of the ocean as a carbon sink for atmospheric CO2. In summary, although changes in the marine sector due to anthropogenic influences may affect global climate change, marshes are expected to primarily be affected by climate change.
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Vol. 82 • No. 4