Summer school

Ecoinformatic approaches to understand ecological processes in a changing world

Venue: Aarhus University building 1540 room 324   

Dates: 16th to the 20th September 2013

Supported by: The Center for Informatics Research on Complexity in Ecology (CIRCE), funded by the Aarhus University Research Foundation under the AU Ideas program. 

Scientific content:  Biological systems are characterised by complexity in structure and function. The increasing availability of large datasets allows creates new opportunities and analytic challenges to understand these complexities. Given the current environmental upheaval and associated loss of biodiversity, it is crucial to understand the role of ecological complexity in population, community and ecosystem response to global change. This course sets out to introduce a practical approach to a number of processes that are sources of ecological complexity in biological systems. In particular, we will focus on the influence of biological interactions, dispersal, environmental heterogeneity and climate variability on population, community and ecosystem structure at multiple scales. We will explore how these processes vary in space and time, and can be affected by ongoing global changes.  

The course will consists of lectures introducing the ecological concepts and discussions of relevant literature followed by practical sessions introducing methods to help participants investigate complexity in both driver and response through the analysis of large data sets.

The course assumes a basic knowledge of R and biostatistical tools (linear regression – multivariate statistics). The course will last for one week, with a morning and afternoon session each day. Each day will begin with a lecture and discussion, after which students will do a guided practical using R with assistance, as required, from the teachers. Each student will need to bring a laptop with R installed.


Schedule and things to prepare:

see attachment

Course materials 







Prof. Jens-Christian Svenning       (

Prof. Jens-Mogens Olesen          (

Prof. Mads Forchhammer          (

Helen Wheeler                 (

Wolf Eiserhardt                  Wolf Eiserhardt

Thomas A. Davidson             (



Participation: Open to all PhD students. Attendance is free, participants need to pay their own costs, e.g., travel and accommodation.There will be room for a maximum of 12 students in the course to maximise opportunities for discussion and interaction, so strong competition for attendance is expected.

Registration: Email a brief (max 1 page) description of your PhD project, your year of study, experience to date and description of the relevance of the course to your research, along with a CV to Dennis Pedersen ( . Please make the subject of your email ´CIRCE summer school´ Deadline for applications is 30 June 2013.

NOTE: Deadline for applications has been extended to July 29 - 2013