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News and arrangements

2nd May 2022

Organic+ newsletter published with ICROFS 

        

A newsletter about the Organic+ project is now available at the ICROFS website. Here you can read more about the background to Organic+ and the project objectives.

It is time for targeted biodiversity-friendly actions. In Organic+, we investigate the environment-friendly agricultural practices and actions best suitable for organic farming at local and regional levels by ALMaSS computer simulations, multi-actor engagement and field observations.
The photo (by Yoko L. Dupont) shows an example of flower strips - one of several possible biodiversity-friendly actions.

Read the newsletter here (Danish). 

   

22nd April 2022

SESS team member Yoko L. Dupont is publishing a booklet about bees

        

Our bee expert of the SESS team, Yoko L. Dupont, is publishing a booklet called "Bier" (eng: Bees). The booklet is a part of a series with the Aarhus University Press called "Tænkepauser" (eng: Reflections). Tænkepauser is a booklet series where top scholars from Aarhus University share the essence of their knowledge about a specific topic. In 60 reader-friendly pages Yoko explains thoughts, discoveries and insights to bees, which she has studied for years. Find more about the booklet the Department of Ecoscience website. 
The booklet will be published the 2nd of May in Danish, and can be purchased here.

   

In connection with the booklet release, two Tænkepauser live talkshows the 2nd and 3rd of May will be held at Nørrebro Theater (poster shown) and Musikhuset Esbjerg, respectively, where Yoko will present her work. You can find more about the talkshows here. Yoko will also present the booklet at libraries around the country. The first occasion is the 5th of May at a "Bog torsdage" (eng: Book Thursdays) event where books of the month will be presented at Det Kgl. Biobliotek, Aarhus (poster shown).

Well done Yoko, we are looking forward to read the booklet!

SESS centre author

Yoko L. Dupont
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


19th April 2022

The SESS welcomes our newest team member! 

        

The SESS team is excited to announce that Dr. Jordan Chetcuti has joined the Danish core team as a researcher. 
Jordan is a computational ecologist from Trinity College Dublin, with an interest in using individual-based models (IBMs) to gain insights into ecological and social systems. As part of the PoshBee project, he is working on creating a framework for Bombus sp. modelling within the ALMaSS framework. In addition, Jordan is working on the creation of spatial input data for Ireland to go into ALMaSS. Thus, Jordan is already well-known to the SESS team with his contributions to the ALMaSS through PoshBee.

Jordan has used IBMs while at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the University of Leeds, to explore habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. This research included species habitat preference and coexistence conducting spatial analysis and developing a weighted version of a metric of habitat association, the phi coefficient of association, and testing this looking at carabid habitat association.

Jordan worked on remote sensing using LiDAR and hyperspectral imagery to explore the māmane (Sophora chrysophylla)/naio (Myoporum sandwicense) cloud forest of the Big Island of Hawai‘i, to explore the reasons for the decline of the endangered Hawaiian bird species Palila (Loxioides bailleui) while completing a Masters and lecturing at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

During his time at Forest Research, the research agency of the British Forestry Commission, as a spatial landscape ecologist, Jordan worked with local councils and forest districts across Scotland and Northern England integrating habitat and people networks into planning. He created decision support tools taking into consideration reaching targets for biodiversity, people and hydrological planning. Jordan also collaborated with national parks, Scottish Natural Heritage and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), including work looking at the impacts of forestry on heathland birds.

With Jordan's experience, he will be a great addition to the SESS team - Welcome Jordan!


25th February 2022

Publication of the ApisRAM formal model description

        

The SESS team is delighted to announce that the ApisRAM agent-based honey bee colony model is published in the EFSA Supporting Publications. The scientific report presents the full model view, thanks to years of work by SESS lead developers Xiaodong Duan and Chris Topping. 

The ApisRAM model is an agent-based colony model for honey bees in which each bee is modelled as an individual agent. The behaviour of the colony emerges from the decisions and actions taken by individuals in the colony and the interactions between agents. The bees interact with, and react to, both other bees and the resources in the colony, the hive physical and chemical properties, and the environment outside the colony. A key feature of ApisRAM is the approach to representing bee health. This is a ‘vitality’ model which is used to integrate multiple stressors (unfavourable temperature, food shortage, infectious agents and pesticides) for each individual bee. The vitality of each model bee interacts with all the four stressors. The environment in which the colony is modelled is implemented as a dynamic landscape simulation within ALMaSS (the Animal Landscape and Man Simulation System). The ALMaSS landscape model is a spatially and temporally dynamic model which combines land use, detailed farm practices, weather, crop growth, semi-natural habitats, and flower resource models. With the combination of the colony and landscape models, the ApisRAM model provides a framework for in silico experiments, e.g., pesticides applications, designed to explore the effects of combined stressors on honey bee colonies under a variety of environmental and human (e.g. beekeeping management practices) factors.

Find the report here.

SESS centre authors

Xiaodong Duan
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK

Christopher J. Topping
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


25th February 2022

The launch of the Food & Ecological Systems Modelling Journal, FESMJ

        

The SESS team is happy to share news of the launch of a new journal, the Food and Ecological Systems Modelling Journal (FESMJ), by Pensoft Publishers. This journal has a focus on scientific modelling from the modeller's perspective, and we hope it will become a first port of call for papers describing models, their construction and use broadly in ecology. This journal will allow modellers to present their models and methods and gain credit for the work needed to craft these tools, often a huge task.
SESS Center Leader Prof. Christopher Topping joins the FESMJ as co-Editor-in-Chief; Chris and the SESS team look forward to add papers to this journal which will enable SESS and others to share the backbone of our models with everyone who desires to apply and build on our work.

Read more about the FESMJ here.

FESMJ co-Editor-in-Chief

Christopher J. Topping
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


20th January 2022

SESS contribution to CropPol, a global database for animal pollinated crops 

CropPol: a dynamic, open and global database on crop pollination

More than 75% of the world’s leading crops are dependent on animals for pollination, and hence fruit and seed set. In the newly published database “CropPol”, more than 100 scientists have contributed data on pollinators and pollination of a total of 48 commercial crop across 32 countries and 30 years.

Read more about the news here (in Danish). The data paper is available here.

Who is pollinating crops worldwide? A global database of crop pollinators has the answer

The data paper is accompanied by a contribution to the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America found here.

Pollinators of red clover

From Denmark, data were included on visitation rates of bumblebees and honey bees in commercial red clover fields, in addition to seed yield. Data were collected in 2008-2009, in this study.

SESS centre contributor

Yoko L. Dupont
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


1st January 2022

SESS project funded by the GUDP & ICROFS  
        

Organic+: Demonstrating and improving the benefit of organic farming on biodiversity and the environment

Project participants: Yoko L. Dupont, Xiaodong Duan, Christopher J. Topping, James H. Williams, Andrey Chuhutin, Geoffrey B. Groom, Luna K. Marcussen, Rasmus D. Nielsen, Bent Rasmussen, Maja E. Petersen, Sybille Kyed, Dorte M. Jensen, Svend Brodersen & Anne B. Olsen

Organic+ will use computer simulations and field monitoring to investigate landscape level changes in biodiversity following implementation of sustainable biodiversity enhancing measures in five case areas differing in landscape context and managed by three organic enterprises. Communities of practice (CoPs) will be established in case areas, engaging the three organic enterprises along with other collaborators, e.g. from farmers to retailers. CoPs will support the co-development of biodiversity measures, gaining agreement on goals, acceptance and the widespread uptake of effective solutions. Furthermore, Organic+ develops and tests a decision support tool for optimizing biodiversity gains by enabling identification and implementation of optimal sustainable biodiversity measures, that result in landscape mosaics supporting valued natural systems and nature, tailored for landscape contexts. Project outputs will contribute and guide OD strategic developments helping it attain its ambitious 30-30-30 goal, further supporting the development of sustainable food consumption and providing sustainable livelihoods for organic farmers.

SESS centre participants

Yoko L. Dupont
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Xiaodong Duan
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Christopher J. Topping
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,

Aarhus University, DK


James H. Williams
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Andrey Chuhutin
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Geoffrey B. Groom
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Luna K. Marcussen
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,

Aarhus University, DK

News of 2021

6th December 2021

SESS contribution to a paper in Methods in Ecology and Evolution   

 

MetaComNet: A random forest-based framework for making spatial predictions of plant–pollinator interactions

This paper develops the modelling framework to predict the structure of plant-pollinator interaction networks and associated ecosystem functions, based on community assembly processes (dispersal, trait-based ecological filtering and neutral processes). Find the article here.

SESS centre author

Yoko L. Dupont
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


24th October 2021

SESS contributed to a letter published in Nature Ecology & Evolution 

        

Improving pesticide-use data for the EU

The letter https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01574-1 focuses on the need for better use of pesticide application data in the EU and suggests the adoption of a model similar to that used in California.  

SESS centre author

Christopher J. Topping
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


22nd October 2021

The ALMaSS online course is completed

        

ALMaSS: A systems simulation approach to environmental & wildlife management  

The course has now come to an end. We are delighted to say that our online ALMaSS course the 18-22nd October 2021 went well. We were met by excited and engaged participants that learned about the background, use, and possibilities of ALMaSS.  

We look forward to keep in touch with the participants, and to the future collaboration and events together with the international ALMaSS users.  


30th September 2021

The ALMaSS online course the 18-22nd October is approaching

       

ALMaSS: A systems simulation approach to environmental & wildlife management  

The course has now reached its maximum number of participants and the deadline for registration.

The SESS team is looking forward to share the world of ALMaSS with the participants!  


18th September 2021

The SESS published a short paper in Tidsskift for Biavl

       

På vej mod udvikling af ny pesticid-risikovurdering for bier

The short paper describes the road to development of a new pesticide risk assessment for bees through the EFSA MUST-B initiative and the ApisRAM project, and the DEPA MUSBERA project. The paper is published in  the journal of the Danish Beekeepers' Association, Tidskrift for Biavl, here (in Danish). 
SESS centre authors

Yoko L. Dupont
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Christopher J. Topping
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,

Aarhus University, DK


Xiaodong Duan
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


James H. Williams
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Luna K. Marcussen
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,

Aarhus University, DK


15th July 2021

Final EFSA research project report published

        

Research project on field data collection for honey bee colony model evaluation

EFSA research project report on field data collection for honey bee model evaluation is now published. 

The project was lead by SESS member Senior Researcher Yoko L. Dupont, and was designed for development and calibration of the honey bee colony simulation model, ApisRAM

The project data is also included in The EU Bee Partnership's (EUBP) new online data platform which will support the effort to protect bee and pollinator health.

Read the final EFSA report here, and read more about the new online EUBP data platform here.  

SESS centre authors

Yoko L. Dupont
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Paulo Sousa
Department of Life Sciences,
The Centre for Functional Ecology,
Coimbra University, PT


Nuno Capela
Department of Life Sciences,
The Centre for Functional Ecology,
Coimbra University, PT


Joana Alves
Department of Life Sciences,
The Centre for Functional Ecology,
Coimbra University, PT


Geoffrey B. Groom
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


António Silva
Department of Life Sciences,
The Centre for Functional Ecology,
Coimbra University, PT

25th June 2021

The SESS team is hosting the B-GOOD CM5  
        

The 5th B-GOOD Consortium Meeting held the 28-30th June 2021 is hosted virtually by the SESS team

The B-GOOD CM5 will provide an interactive online conference which will provide floor for the demonstration of the ongoing research and showcasing progress, as well as promote cooperation between B-GOOD participants. The SESS team are looking forward to hosting the event!

Read more about the B-GOOD project.


24th June 2021

Article about the SESS centre in the DCE Årsberetning 2020 (in Danish)  
        

Internationalt forskningscenter for simulering af socio-økologiske systemer 

The recently published 2020 edition of the Danish Centre for Environment and Energy annual report (DCE - Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi) holds an article about SESS centre. It describes the SESS centre work approach, aim, current use and the potential future impacts.   

Read the article on page 9.


15th June 2021

SESS project funded by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency 
        

Implementation and communication of multiple-stressor environmental risk assessment for bees (MUSBERA) 

Project participants: Yoko L. Dupont, Xiaodong Duan, Christopher J. Topping, James H. Williams, Per Kryger, Elżbieta Ziółkowska, Agnieszka J. Bednarska

The MUSBERA project has been funded by the Pesticide and Biocide Research Program of the Danish EPA. 

The Pesticide and Biocide Research Program aims to contribute to the minimisation of the use of pesticides and the reduction of sideeffects on human health or the environment from the applications of pesticides. 

The MUSBERA project contributes to the development of environmental risk assessment regulatory scenarios for bees using the MUST-B approach (“A systems-based approach to the environmental risk assessment of MUltiple STressors in honey Bees”, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)), and evaluating the performance of ALMaSS models; ApisRAM and Osmia model in Denmark.

SESS centre participants

Yoko L. Dupont
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Xiaodong Duan
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Christopher J. Topping
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,

Aarhus University, DK


James H. Williams
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


Luna K. Marcussen
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,

Aarhus University, DK


Elżbieta Ziółkowska
Institute of Environmental Sciences,
Jagelloinan University, PL


Agnieszka J. Bednarska
Institute of Nature Conservation,
Polish Academy of Science, PL


28th April 2021

SESS involved article published in PLOS ONE
        

Evaluating competition for forage plants between honey bees and wild bees in Denmark

Claus Rasmussen, Yoko L. Dupont, Henning B. Madsen, Petr Bogusch, Dave Goulson, Lina Herbertsson, Kate Pereira Maia, Anders Nielsen, Jens M. Olesen, Simon G. Potts, Stuart P. M. Roberts, Markus A. K. Sydenham, Per Kryger

 
Abstract

A recurrent concern in nature conservation is the potential competition for forage plants between wild bees and managed honey bees. Specifically, that the highly sophisticated system of recruitment and large perennial colonies of honey bees quickly exhaust forage resources leading to the local extirpation of wild bees. However, different species of bees show different preferences for forage plants. We here summarize known forage plants for honey bees and wild bee species at national scale in Denmark. Our focus is on floral resources shared by honey bees and wild bees, with an emphasis on both threatened wild bee species and foraging specialist species. Across all 292 known bee species from Denmark, a total of 410 plant genera were recorded as forage plants. These included 294 plant genera visited by honey bees and 292 plant genera visited by different species of wild bees. Honey bees and wild bees share 176 plant genera in Denmark. Comparing the pairwise niche overlap for individual bee species, no significant relationship was found between their overlap and forage specialization or conservation status. Network analysis of the bee-plant interactions placed honey bees aside from most other bee species, specifically the module containing the honey bee had fewer links to any other modules, while the remaining modules were more highly inter-connected. Despite the lack of predictive relationship from the pairwise niche overlap, data for individual species could be summarized. Consequently, we have identified a set of operational parameters that, based on a high foraging overlap (>70%) and unfavorable conservation status (Vulnerable+Endangered+Critically Endangered), can guide both conservation actions and land management decisions in proximity to known or suspected populations of these species.

Find the article here: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0250056

SESS centre authors

Yoko L. Dupont
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,  
Aarhus University, DK


26th February 2021

SESS letter published in Science
        

Holistic environmental risk assessment for bees 

Christopher John Topping, Mark Brown, Jordan Chetcuti, Joachim R. de Miranda, Francesco Nazzi, Peter Neumann, Robert J. Paxton, Maj Rundlöf, Jane C. Stout

 

Find the letter here: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abg9622

SESS centre authors

Christopher J. Topping
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,
  

Aarhus University, DK


Jordan Chetcuti
Department of Botany,
School of Natural Sciences,
Trinity College Dublin, IR


Jane C. Stout
Department of Botany,
School of Natural Sciences,
Trinity College Dublin, IR


11th February 2021

SESS article published in Science of the Total Environment 
        

Supporting non-target arthropods in agroecosystems: Modelling effects of insecticides and landscape structure on carabids in agricultural landscapes

Elżbieta Ziółkowska, Christopher J. Topping, Agnieszka J. Bednarska, Ryszard Laskowski

 
Abstract

Intensification of agricultural practices is one of the most important drivers of the dramatic decline of arthropod species. We do not know, however, the relative contribution to decline of different anthropogenic stressors that are part of this process. We used high-resolution dynamic landscape models and advanced spatially-explicit population modelling to estimate the relative importance of insecticide use and landscape structure for population dynamics of a widespread carabid beetle Bembidion lampros. The effects of in-crop mitigation measures through the application of insecticides with reduced lethality, and off-crop mitigation measures by increasing abundance of grassy field margins, were evaluated for the beetle along the gradient of landscape heterogeneity. Reducing the insecticide-driven lethality (from 90 to 10%) had larger positive impacts on beetle density and occupancy than increasing the abundance of field margins in a landscape. The effects of increasing field margins depended on their width and overall abundance in the landscape, but only field margins 4 m wide, applied to at least 40% of fields, resulted in an increase in beetle population density comparable to the scenario with the smallest reduction of insecticide-driven lethality we considered. Our findings suggest the importance of field margins rather as a supporting not stand-alone mitigation measure, as they generally improved effects of reduction of insecticide-driven lethality. Therefore, adding sufficiently broad off-field habitats should help to maintain viable beetle populations in agricultural landscapes even with moderate use of insecticides. In general, the less persistent the insecticides are in the environment, the larger positive impacts of applied mitigation measures on beetle populations were found. We also showed that the effectiveness of applied mitigation measures strongly depends on landscape and farmland heterogeneity. Thus, to achieve the same management or mitigation target in different landscapes might require different strategies.

Find the article here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145746

SESS centre authors

Elżbieta Ziółkowska
Institute of Environmental Sciences,
Jagelloinan University, PL


Christopher J. Topping
Department of Ecoscience,
Biodiversity and Conservation,

Aarhus University, DK


Agnieszka J. Bednarska
Institute of Nature Conservation,
Polish Academy of Science, PL


Ryszard Laskowski
Institute of Environmental Sciences,
Jagelloinan University, PL

News of 2020

10th December 2020

SESS centre launch
       

The centre was launched using an open zoom meeting.

Below is a link to a YouTube video of the launch meeting.

Thank you to all who attended and best wishes for all our future collaborations.

/Chris

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