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Aim of the course

The 2012 course aims at making the participants conversant with approaches to ecological and evolutionary models beyond those found in the textbooks. The stress is on generalities, as opposed to the construction of simulation models purportedly mimicking concrete empirical cases. The work of theoretical groups in the Netherlands serves as an anchoring point. This is possible since through historical accident these groups rather nicely cover a full gamut of approaches.

Contents & Structure

The first session treats the philosophy of exploring ecological and evolutionary phenomena through the use of mini-models. This session also functions as a refresher of the prerequisites. The remainder of the course concentrates on models that allow incorporation more biological detail. These models are more complicated but still sufficiently simple to be treated on a relatively general level.

Sessions two and three consider the step from the individual to the population level and back. Session two stresses physiological processes as well as energy and mass balances.

Session three deals with various mathematical techniques for stepping from individual to population behaviour, and from there to the evolution of traits of those individuals, ending with a discussion of the mathematical principle underlying ecological diversification.

The fourth session considers the long term fixation of this diversification through speciation.

The fifth and final session treats fine-scaled spatial interactions and other types of mechanistic complexity. The corresponding models are not easily amenable to mathematical treatment and may lead to an, often surprising, richness of phenomena.

Required Knowlegde & preparation

It is assumed that all participants have had some previous exposure to ecological modeling, in particular to the use of mini- (or toy) models, to the level of one of the following books: The books of Yodzis and Bulmer are out of press; Yodzis (1989) can be downloaded and Bulmer (1994) can probably be found in your local library. If you have problems with the conceptual and/or mathematical level of these books, we shall gladly offer some guidance by a tutor from among our lecturers. With the help of this tutor you can remedy that situation during December and early Januari by studying the book of Case, which is particularly suited for self-study.

Course credits


Schedule: Dates & Location

  1. Fri 13 Jan 2012: Mini-models (inspired by the books of Case or others)
    Host: Prof. Dr. Rob J. de Boer
    Location: Room 022, Minneart gebouw, Leuvenlaan 4, De Uithof, Utrecht
    Time: 10:00-17:00
  2. Mon 16 Jan 2012: Metabolic organisation at the ecological level
    Host: Prof. Dr. S.A.L.M. Kooijman
    Location: Room T550, Vrije Universiteit, de Boelelaan 1081, Amsterdam
    Time: 10:00 - 17:00
  3. Mon 23 Jan 2012: Physiologically structured populations, and adaptive dynamics
    Host: Prof. Dr. J.A.J. Metz
    Location: Room 3.T.01, Sylvius Laboratorium, Sylviusweg (Wassenaarse weg) 72, 2333BE Leiden
    Time: 10:00 - 17:00
  4. Fri 27 Jan 2012: Non-equilibrium processes in ecology and evolution
    Host: Prof. Dr. F.J. Weissing
    Location: Room 1.51 Linnaeusborg, Zernike Complex, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, 9747 AG Groningen
    Time: 10:00 (coffee), 10:30- 17:00
  5. Fri 03 Feb 2012: Spatial eco-evolutionary processes
    Host: Prof. Dr. P. Hogeweg
    Location: Room 022, Minneart gebouw, Leuvenlaan 4, De Uithof (bus 12 or 12S from centraal station Utrecht)
    Time: 10:00-17:00
    Contents This session can include a general discussion if deemed expedient

Costs & restrictions

Travel costs
Optional: book by Case (ca 50 euro), book by Kooijman (36 euro)
It is assumed that all participants have had at least some previous exposure to ecological modeling. Please submit a short email to the course organizer, Prof. Metz, detailing your familiarity with theoretical ecology, DEB, modeling etc.

Organisation & information

Prof. Dr. J. A. J. Metz (Hans)
Phone: 010-4297995 / 06-53 44 84 50


Addresses & websites of lecturers


Online via the website Please also send an email with full name, work and living addresses, telephone number(s) and e-mail address to the organiser (address see above), so that an address list based on this information may be distributed among the participants.

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