AK meeting canceled because of COVID-19

Dear AK members,

we have now decided that, despite the positive local developments around the COVID-19 pandemic in the last weeks, it is likely not possible to have a successful and safe physical meeting with people from all over Germany in July.

Regrettably, we therefore have to cancel the planned meeting. We will set a new date as soon as we feel this can safely be done.

I am currently entertaining ideas about possible virtual activities of the AK. Maybe this can at least somewhat compensate the loss of physical interaction. I will send around information about this in due time.



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



Results from our call for interest

We are closing in on the inaugural meeting of the new special interest group for computational ecology tomorrow (on Tuesday) at the GFÖ conference. Before, we wanted to shortly report on the status of our call for interest (which is still open btw, so feel free to participate).

We have so far 58 responses, roughly half of which are at the PostDoc level.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 09.08.29.png

Maybe not surprisingly, the dominating methodological approaches are stats and modeling, with ecological modelers slightly on the upper hand. FYI, the other two options were theoretical / mathematical models, and ecological informatics, it’s a bit hard to read.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 09.09.46.pngThe group is pretty diverse in terms of subdiscipline and study topics – Still, I guess your best bet would be that the person next to you at the meeting on Tuesday is a terrestrial plant community ecologist.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 09.10.03.pngScreen Shot 2016-09-05 at 09.09.55.png

We didn’t get many responses in the open comment section about the organization / plans for the group. One comment was

I’d be interested in methods workshops (maybe something like “calculus for ecologists” or ABC) as well as workshops where a group of people work on a review/synthesis paper for a topic in theoretical ecology. I’m not so much interested in workshops where participants just present their work to each other.

Feel free to use the comment section here or the meeting tomorrow to agree/disagree, or provide further ideas or comments.