New methods for modelling systems in a changing world

Grass steppe in Patagonia. The combination of lifestock grazing and variations in rainfall can lead to degradation. A mechanistic model of this system allowed to predict critical stocking rates (see Wiegand et al. 2008; photo: Nestor Fernandez).

Main tasks of current biodiversity research are to understand and predict the effects of environmental change (land use, climate) on biodiversity and its role for ecosystem services. Existing descriptive, empirical, and highly aggregated models are of limited use for predicting the effects of unprecedented environmental conditions. Thus, mechanistic models are needed where low-level processes are represented and tested for a wide range of environmental conditions. This includes process-based models, which explictly include eco-physiological processes, and agent-based models, which include local interaction, adaptive behaviour and decision making. Moreover, models are needed that include the decision making of land users and managers, so that they allow assessing the effectiveness of environmental policies. The Department of Ecological Modelling has sound experience in process-based modelling (species-rich forests), agent-based modelling of ecological and epidemiological systems, and ecological-economic models. The modelling expertise of the department is also increasingly used in domains other than terrestrial biodiversity research, e.g. marine ecology, ecotoxicology, and social sciences. Current and planned projects of the Department of Ecological Modelling aim at integrated mechanistic models for developing systemic solutions.

Selected Publications

  • Eisinger, D., Thulke, H.-H. (2008):
    Spatial pattern formation facilitates eradication of infectious diseases
    J.Appl.Ecol. 45 (2), 415-423
  • Cury, P. M., Shin, Y. J., Planque, B., Durant, J. M., Fromentin, J. M., Kramer-Schadt, S., Stenseth, N. C., Travers, M., Grimm, V. (2008):
    Ecosystem oceanography for global change in fisheries
    Trends Ecol.Evol. 23 (6), 338-346
  • Wiegand, T., Wiegand, K., Pütz, S. (2008):
    Grazing models
    In: Jorgensen, S. E., Fath, B. D. (Hrsg.): Ecological Models
    Encyclopedia of ecology Vol. 3
    Elsevier, Amsterdam, S. 1773-1782
  • More publications




Einführung in die Modellierung ökologischer Systeme

3.-13. März 2015

Mehr Information :

Junior Research Group

„Global food security policies and their social-ecological side effects in regions prone to global change”