NVTB Symposium 7 Nov 2006

New developments in mathematical biology:
Adaptive dynamics and physiology-based models

Please check this site for possible changes in location or additional information.


The morning program is in the 14A-05, Vrije Universiteit (main building at de Boelelaan 1105) in Amsterdam

Go to the elevators in the main building, select level 14. Walk in the direction of the A-wing.

The afternoon program is in the aula of the same building.

Program on Tuesday 7 November 2006

09:30 coffee
09:50 welcome by Bas Kooijman
10:00 Ulf Dieckmann: Models of evolutionary dynamics; an integrative perspective
10:30 Hans Metz: Towards a synthesis between Adaptive Dynamics and Evo-Devo
11:00 coffee
11:15 Jean-Christophe Poggiale: Spatial heterogeneity and biodegradation
11:45 Jaap vd Meer: A comparison between the Metabolic Theory of Ecology and the Dynamic Energy Budget theory.
12:15 lunch at VU restaurant (ground floor main building)
13:45 Tineke Troost: Evolution of community metabolism
15:15 reception by Tineke (adjacent to Aula)
15:45 Caroline Tolla: Modelling of microbial population dynamics in variable environments
17:15 reception by Caroline + Tineke (in "de Bosbaan", 10 min walking)
18:00 party for invitees by Tineke and Caroline

10:00 Ulf Dieckmann
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria
Models of evolutionary dynamics; an integrative perspective

Evolutionary theory bridges between many disparate areas of biology, assuming an integrative role that results from the ubiquity of the salient ingredients of natural selection: adaptive traits inherited with variation, combined with the differential spread of trait-carrying entities. Yet, even 150 years after Darwin's pioneering work, evolutionary theory remains fragmented, as models of evolutionary dynamics used in genetics, ecology, and game theory tend to be curiously disconnected. With a view towards reducing this fragmentation, this talk will outline an integrative perspective based on the theory of adaptive dynamics.

10:30 Hans Metz
Section Theoretical Biology, Institute of Biology, Leiden University
Towards a synthesis between Adaptive Dynamics and Evo-Devo

Evo-Devo and adaptive dynamics (AD) are two main postmodern contributions to the evolutionary syntheses. AD deals with the consequences of the fact that fitness is a population dynamically determined quantity. Evo-Devo makes two contributions to a predictive understanding of the evolutionary process (as opposed to a posthoc understanding of the realised evolutionary tree): it potentially gives insight in what sort of changes of morphologcal (s.l) patterns are more or less easily generated, and it gives an indication of the selective pressures that may be caused by the need for a good, stable, developmental integration.

AD arguments are largely local in time as well as in trait space. From a larger perspective the low dimensional fitness landscapes most often studied in AD can be seen as the surfaces of ridges in a much higher dimensional landscape of potential morphologies, with the abyss around the ridges created by the lack of a proper development, or functioning, of the corresponding morphologies. The location of the ridges and abysses appears grossly the same for large sets of possible environmental conditions. The high dimension combined with the ridgyness conspire in a number of ways:

  1. Developmental systems leading to mutation distributions that are in some way aligned with the ridges evolve much faster than systems where such is not the case.
  2. The stabilising selection in the off-ridge directions has a great robustness of the developmental system as inevitable consequence. Yet, the high dimension of genotype space makes that this robustness can never lead to a lack of suitable mutational variation, and thereby to the conservation of features. (The fact that evolution largely proceeds through the quantative variation in the size and shape of homologous parts is due only to the stabilising internal selection that arises as a consequence of the organisation of multicellular organisms.)
  3. So-called allopatric speciation occurs by separated populations wandering around in the high fitness maze, so that after a while their mixed offspring, having intermediate properties, ends up in the abyss.
  4. Large mutational steps far more often than not make an individual land in the abyss, and only the much rarer very small steps keep it on the top. This provides a justification for the assumption made in AD.

11:15 Jean Christophe Poggiale
Laboratory of Microbiology Geochemistry and Marine Ecology, Marseille University, France
Spatial heterogeneity and biodegradation

Spatial heterogeneity is permanent in natural ecosystems and should play a crucial role on their functioning, which is far from being well understood. We consider the interactions between of microorganisms and organic matter degradation in two types of marine ecosystems; the first one deals with the sediment and the second one concerns the column water. We try to analyze the impact of spatial heterogeneity on this interaction by means of mathematical models. We first discuss about the main processes involved and introduce usual models. We discuss the problems induced by the lack of biological relevance of these models and suggest more realistic models based on a DEB approach. The suggested models are rather complex and mathematical methods are presented in order to simplify them. We then show some consequences of spatial heterogeneity on the biodegradation efficiency.

11:45 Jaap van der Meer
dept Marine Ecology & Evolution, NIOZ, Texel
A comparison between the Metabolic Theory of Ecology (MTE) and the Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory.

In a previous paper I showed that whereas DEB theory provides a consistent description of the organisation of metabolism at the level of the individual, MTE does not ( Van der Meer, 2006, TREE 21: 136-140). Here I consider how the two theories take the step from the individual level to the level of populations and beyond.

13:45 Tineke Troost
dept Theoretical Biology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
Evolution of community metabolism

13:45 welcome by Bauke Oudega (Rector Magnificus) in Aula
promotor Bas Kooijman, copromotor Bob Kooi
13:45 Introduction by Tineke Troost
13:55 Prof. Dr. J. A. J. (Hans) Metz
14:04 Dr. U. (Ulf) Dieckmann
14:13 Prof. Dr. J.C. (Jean Christophe) Poggiale
14:21 Dr. J. (Jaap) van der Meer
14:29 Prof. Dr. F.J. (Franjo) Weissing
14:37 Dr. T. (Tjalling) Jager
14:45 end of defence
15:15 end of ceremony; drinks

15:45 Caroline Tolla
Laboratory of Microbiology Geochemistry and Marine Ecology, Marseille University, France
Modelling of microbial population dynamics in variable environments

15:45 welcome by Bauke Oudega (Rector Magnificus) in Aula
promotores Bas Kooijman & Jean-Christophe Poggiale
15:45 Introduction by Caroline Tolla
15:55 Dr. J. (Jaap) van der Meer
16:05 Prof. Dr. R. (Rob) Hengeveld
16:15 Dr. Ir. B. (Bernd) Brandt
16:25 Dr. P. (Peter) van Bodegom
16:35 Dr. Ir. B. W. (Bob) Kooi
16:45 end of defence
17:15 end of ceremony; more drinks

Caroline will defend her thesis in Marseille at 10 nov 2006.

Interest in DEB tele course 2007? Go to the DEB information page