IK Computational Ecology activities at the #EAB2017 in Ghent

Dear all,

the joint meeting of the GFÖ / BES / NECOV and EFF in Ghent is around the corner, and we are all very excited. Here’s a final heads up about activities you should not miss if you want to meet with your fellow computational ecologists next week:

  • Hack R at the Ecology Hackathon on Monday (if you have signed up for that)
  • Mix with us at the joint mixer (with the YoMos and the SIG Quantitative Ecology), Tuesday, 19.00 Baekelandzaal 3
  • Get inspired by our session (again, joint with the YoMos and the SIG Quantitative Ecology) “TT10: Are we any good at simulating ecology? Success and future challenges in ecological simulation models”, Thursday, 9.45 Casinozaal 1

Also, as announced, we will bring forward a motion to convert the IK status of our group into a more permanent AK status during the general assembly of the GFÖ, Wednesday, 17.15.

See you in Ghent,

Emanuel and Florian


IK activities at the joint GFÖ / BES / NECOV / EFF meeting in Ghent

Dear IK members,

we are looking forward to seeing many of you at the joint meeting of the GFÖ / BES / NECOV and EFF in December in Ghent.

We wanted to update you about the activities of the AK during the meeting:

  1. Pre-conference Hackathon: The IK is co-organizing a pre-conference workshop “Ecology Hackathon: Developing R Packages for Accessing, Synthesizing and Analysing Ecological Data”, sponsored by the journal “Methods in Ecology and Evolution“, together with the BES Quantitative Ecology Special Interest Group and the NeCov Ecological Informatics SIG. The idea of this event is to jointly implement some useful R code / packages in teams made up by the people that join the workshop. We hope this will be a great opportunity to learn new things, make useful contacts, and contribute something to the community. So, remember to sign up for the Hackathon when you register for the conference, and regardless of whether you will join or not, you may suggest topics the group could work on here.
  2. IK session: Are we any good at simulating ecology? Success and future challenges in ecological simulation models. As announced earlier, together with the YoMos and the SIG QE of the BES, we have organized a session to reflect on the status and future of simulation models in ecology. The time of the session is not yet fixed, but what we know is that we have a fantastic list of speakers from different areas of ecology, so look out for the session and we hope to see you there. Note also that we are planning to connect the session with a walk-around in the poster area, focusing on posters of early-stage researchers with IK-related interests.
  3. IK meeting:  The IK meeting will be held together with the SIG QE of the BES and the YoMos at the conference center. The plan is to follow the BES SIG tradition and make this a bit more of a social mixer with a few drinks and snacks. The positive side of this is that there will be more room for meeting people, the negative is obviously that this doesn’t allow for a structured discussion on future activities and the like. However, all in all we had the feeling that we are better off using the context of the joint meeting to socialize a bit, and move discussions online or to our “normal” GFÖ meeting next year, where we are among ourselves again. If you think that there are urgent things that need to be discussed within the AK, please let us known though.
  4. IK / AK: Finally, a heads up that we will propose at the GFÖ assembly to transform the IK (Interessenskreis) into a normal AK (Arbeitskreis). For people that have no idea what we are talking about – this is the normal procedure in the GFÖ for establishing a permanent interest group, the IK is a kind of “test phase”.

All the best, and see you in Ghent

Emanuel and Florian (AK speakers)







Report from the first IK Computational Ecology Meeting

Dear all,

with apologies for the massive delay in posting this, we are pleased to confirm that our first AK meeting in May did indeed take place, as announced, at the Waldschlösschen in Göttingen. We had a great time, discussing science, sitting in the sun, and catching up with old friends.

About the science: apart from short talks from all participants, we had structured the meeting around a number of discussion groups, proposed and led by some of the meeting participants. Those were

  • Synthesis and predictions in ecological models (Carsten Dormann, Lionel Hertzog)
  • Interactions in modelling species distribution: What could be next? (Heike Lischke)
  • Next generation movement models (Ulrike Schlaegel, Stephanie Kramer-Schadt)
  • Hybrid model designs to merge individual-based (bottom-up) with equation-based (top-down) processes (Gudrun Wallentin)
  • Mini-workshop: Machine Learning Bootcamp for Beginners (Masahiro Ryo)
  • Infections on the move (Cédric Scherer & Stephanie Kramer-Schadt)
  • Eco-evolutionary simulation approaches for macroecology (Mikael Pontarp)
  • Advanced Methods for species distribution modelling (Bogdan Caradima)
  • Simulation models and coexistence theory (Felix May)
  • Cooperation between IK Computational Ecology + Young Modellers in Ecology YoMos (Theresa Stratmann)

We may post some of the results of these groups in the next weeks, but if you are particularly interested in one of the topics, you may want to contact the group facilitator directly to hear what was going on.

To end with an organizational note: from what I could gather, people liked the venue a lot, but we were at capacity with 33 participants. Our apologies to the people that couldn’t join for lack of space. We’ll have to see how the demand develops over the next years, but we will try to see if we can get a larger venue in the next year (the alternative would be to meet at a university and get hotels in town, but this is of course less social).

The inevitable group photo



Status update IK Computational Ecology

Dear IK members,

it’s been a while since you last heard from us, so we wanted to share a few items of information with you about the current status of the IK.

IK Meeting in Göttingen: first of all, we were very glad that there was so much interest in our first IK meting. The unfortunate side effect is that we are by now booked out (33 participants), and had to create a waiting list. We are still hopeful, however, that we will be able to accommodate most people that wanted to join. In any case, we are very much looking forward to seeing so many of you at an exciting first IK meeting in Göttingen.

Activities at the BES / GFÖ: secondly, we wanted to inform you that, together with the YOMOs and the SIG Quantitative Ecology of the BES, the IK will convene a session “Are we any good at simulating ecology? Success and future challenges in ecological simulation models” at this year’s Joint Annual Meeting being organised by the British Ecological Society (BES), NecoV and Gesellschaft für Ökologie (GfÖ), in association with the European Ecological Federation (EEF), between 11th and 14th December 2017 in Ghent, Belgium. Apart from the interest in the session as such, we think it’s great that the computational groups in the BES and GFÖ are organizing something together, and we certainly hope there will be similar joint activities in the future. Also, there is talk about the IK supporting a hackaton organized by the MEE journal at the meeting, but this is not decided yet.

IK Members: we have by now around 120 people that have signed up for the IK. This is great! Nevertheless, there may still be many people that haven’t heard about the IK, so please do feel free to spread the word and forward the IK website or our sign-up link to potentially interested colleagues.

Mailing list: a comment on the use of the mailing list: if you are on the list, you can write directly to the list, you don’t have to write to us with the request to forward job / conference announcements! Also, remember that you can tweet us to retweet @AKCompEcol.

And finally, please to let us know if you have any comments / suggestions for the IK!


Register now for the first IK Computational Ecology meeting 17.5. – 19.5. 2017 in Göttingen, Germany

It is our great pleasure to invite you to the first meeting of the GFÖ special interest group for computational ecology

  • When: Wed, 17.5. (evening) – Fr. 19.5. 2017 (lunch time)
  • Where: in the Waldschlösschen close to Göttingen, Germany


The meeting will start on Wednesday evening  (17th of May) and last until Friday, lunchtime (19th of May). In line with the discussion during our inaugural meeting at last year’s GFÖ, the program of the meeting will consist of

  • Short talks (5 min) of all participants to introduce their research interests
  • Mini-excursion
  • Discussion groups on subjects related to computational ecology, organized and lead by the participants

The goal of all activities is to get to know each other,  and develop new collaborations or research questions between IK members.

Accommodation and registration

The Waldschlösschen provides lodgings (2 nights in single rooms) and full board (3 meals a day) for a price of 132 EUR per person. We have reserved a sufficient number of rooms, but to confirm them, we require a definite confirmation of your attendance before the 7th of February.

Please register for the meeting here.

With many hopes for an inspiring first IK meeting at this great location

Florian Hartig, Emanuel A. Fronhofer, Alexander Kubisch (AK speakers), Johannes Signer (local organizer)

ps: if you want to print / post this invitation, you can find a pdf here.




Save the date – IK Computational Ecology meeting 17.5. – 19.5. 2017 in Göttingen, Germany

It’s our pleasure to announce the tentative date and location of our first IK meeting:

  • 17.5. – 19.5. 2017
  • In the Waldschlösschen close to Göttingen, Germany
  • Local organizer: Johannes Signer, University of Göttingen (many thanks to Johannes already for organizing the location)

We have pre-booked the rooms already, and will open the application / call for topics (see report from the inaugural meeting at the GFÖ 2016) towards the end of this year.

Waldschlösschen im Schnee
Waldschlösschen im Schnee by James Steakley, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Report from the GfÖ annual meeting 2016

Good news! Last week, the general assembly at the GfÖ 2016 officially recognized us as a new IK (i.e. initiative group). We will be able to request the formation of a “full” special interest group of the GfÖ at next year’s annual meeting, which will done jointly with the BES and NECOV in Ghent, Belgium.

During the well-attended first IK meeting, we talked about what to do next. First of all, infrastructure-wise, we will for now organize via

  • This blog
  • Our twitter channel @AKCompEcol
  • An email list that we are setting up as I write.

What we talked about most is what activities we could do / organize. The final decision was to have our first IK meeting in Spring 2017, with

  • Introductory (very short) talks of all participants to get to know each other and to get an overview of topics and methodologies.
  • Plenty of time for discussions (either on a general topic aimed at finding possibilities for synergies between statistics, modeling and theory, or in breakout groups to be declared beforehand). We will send around a questionnaire to collect further ideas before the meeting (e.g. for discussion groups and / or general organization).
  • 2-3 days at a place that is centrally located in Germany (there were suggestions for Frankfurt or Göttingen, each with volunteers for the organization).

We had many other good suggestions from the group that we have noted, particularly regarding connections to other groups (e.g., YoMos, AK Macroecology, AK Plant Population Ecology), activities at the upcoming joint GfÖ/BES (a session, potentially joint with the BES SIG Quantitative Ecology), and other meeting forms. We are going to follow up on those and will report back once we have concrete results.

In the meantime – if you haven’t done it, do not forget to fill out the questionnaire and/or follow us on twitter @AKCompEcol to keep informed about the group!