Environmental modelling is done more and more by practising ecologists rather than computer scientists or mathematicians. This is because there is a broad spectrum of development tools available that allows graphical coding of complex models of dynamic systems and help to abstract from the mathematical issues of the modelled system and the related numerical problems for estimating solutions. In this contribution, we study how different modelling tools treat a test system, a highly non-linear predator–prey model, and how the numerical solutions vary. We can show that solutions (a) differ if different development tools are chosen but the same numerical procedure is selected; (b) depend on undocumented implementation details; (c) vary even for the same tool but for different versions; and (d) are generated but with no notifications on numerical problems even if these could be identified. We conclude that improved documentation of numeric methods used in the modelling software is essential to make sure that process based models formulated in terms of these modelling packages do not become “black box” models due to uncertainty in integration methods.

%B Environmental Modelling & Software %V 20 %P 1543-1548 %8 12/2005 %N 12 %R doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2004.12.004