Introduction to Ecological Modelling (in NetLogo)

Course dates:
November 22 - 26, 2021

Application dates:
Application re-opened after COVID-19 delay Due to Covid-19, this course was postponed to November 2021, and will now be organised in Namibia.

Application closed, now. All applicants have been informed.

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Coordinating university/institution:
University of Potsdam, Germany



Course lead:
Dr. Dirk Lohmann

Target group:
MSc and PhD students as well as early career researchers from SPACES 2 or directly associated (e.g. SASSCAL) projects who have no or very little prior experience in ecological modelling

Requested application documents:

  • Letter of Recommendation (official document from home institute, signed by academic supervisor) together with the Motivation Letter (all in one file) up-to-date
  • CV including information on academic courses and degrees
  • copy of the passport

Course description:
The short course on ecological modeling will address participants who have no, or very limited experiences in simulation modeling. Using the open-source agent-based-modeling framework NetLogo, they will get an introduction into the basics of how process-based models are conceptually developed, technically implemented and how they are then finally evaluated and analysed. Guest keynote lecturers will give “spotlight presentations” on selected ongoing ecological modeling studies and will provide interesting insights into the potential application of the method

Learning methods:
Participants will get “hands-on” experience in ecological modelling. Real ecological examples will be used to formulate conceptual models. The open source software NetLogo will then be used to implement those models technically. Students will undergo the whole process from model development over technical implementation / programming to analyzing.

Expected learning outcomes:
The course will enable non-modeling researchers and students to get first insights into the "world of ecological modeling". This should either inspire them to further continue learning and working in this field of research or to just foster their understanding of what ecological modeling is all about. As simulation based sub-projects are nowadays part of most research projects, we consider this course also very valuable to students who are working as field ecologists. Interpreting the results of simulation-based research, as well as being able to cooperate in inter-disciplinary teams are skills that every researcher of the future will need.

Additional information:

  • The language of instruction is English
  • No prior experience in programming or NetLogo is necessary
  • Ideally students bring along their own computers