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Team and partners

As a multidisciplinary team with numerous ongoing projects, the SESS team benefits from our day-to-day collaboration, where we often contribute to various overlapping projects. We provide each other with a broad range of insights and inputs that strengthen the development and outcome of our research. Our work is more adapted to our strengths and how we work individually than the other way around. We all share a great enthusiasm for the work we are doing, and all team members have an instinctive drive to support each other and the team. We are inclusive and there is a general focus and understanding of the balance between work and private life – and how that balance can look different depending on each person.

The core SESS team is situated on the same floor in Aarhus University Campus building 1110, where offices are next to each other. Our work and team efforts thrive from in-office conversations and coordination, while we also value the advantages of working from home.

You can find a few more details of our individual backgrounds and current focus of research on this page. 

Our core team


The core SESS team is comprised of 15 members from Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience, and includes both a full professor, senior researchers, researchers, postdocs, research assistants, a programmer, and an academic employee. 

Our partners

 
SESS has a large network of people across the EU because of the ALMaSS work. This broad network means that the centre has a large number of affiliate organisations, including:  

Collaborations

Institute of Environmental Sciences (IES)

  • Jagiellonian University Krakow, where much of the landscape modelling for EU is done as well as insect modelling, including Osmia bicornis

University of Naples Federico II (UniNA)

  • Working with SESS to implement human decision making and economics in ALMaSS

Coimbra University (CU) 

  • Developing Portuguese landscapes and species for ALMaSS

The Spanish Institute of Game and Wildlife Research (IREC) 

  • Working with amphibian modelling in ALMaSS

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) 

  • Developing Irish landscape modelling and ALMaSS bumblebee models

Julius Kuehn Institute (JKI) 

  • Developing ALMaSS landscapes for Germany and collaborating on the EcoStack project

Polytechnic Institute of Setubal (IPS)

  • Developing ALMaSS species models for Portugal and using models for olive grove projects

Christopher John Topping

Full Professor
Leader of the SESS centre

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 427

SESS team role

SESS is led by Chris Topping who is an ecological modeller with 30 years modelling experience and a background in agricultural zoology. He works with environmental risk assessment as well as wildlife and human modelling.
He is the instigator for and main developer for ALMaSS, developed over 25 years, and now forming part of the toolbox used by EFSA for pollinator risk assessment (ApisRAM). He is also editor in chief of the Food and Ecological Systems Modelling Journal (FESMJ), and vice-chair of the EFSA PPR panel.

Luna Kondrup Marcussen

Centre Administrator

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C

Building 1110, office 428 

SESS team role

Luna has a MSc in Biology, and has worked with the SESS goup since early 2019, now as the SESS centre administrator.

She assists with a broad range of tasks including; administration and coordination of SESS-involved proposals and projects; arrangement and documentation of project meetings and workshops; communication with partners and stakeholders; project budget and time allocations; SESS social media channels; ALMaSS updates related to crop management.

Yoko Luise Dupont

Senior Researcher

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 423 

SESS team role

Yoko is an ecologist with broad knowledge about ecology of wild and domesticated plants and insects, in particular pollinators. Her research field covers plant-pollinator interactions, in particular ecology of wild and managed bees, ecological networks, landscape ecology, farmland ecology, historical ecology, conservation and invasion biology, plant reproductive biology and crop production. She works on basic and applied projects with a focus on biodiversity, in particular in agricultural landscapes, and with a focus on the interaction between farmland and natural habitats. This includes functional diversity and the ecosystem services that wild insects provide to crops, in addition to effects of pesticide use on non-target organisms, including both plants and animals.

Geoffrey Brian Groom

Senior Researcher

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 425 

SESS team role

Geoff is a geographer with expertise and 30-years' experience in GIS, remote sensing and image analysis. Many of the projects he has worked upon have related to landscape, land cover and habitats in Denmark and other European countries. He is responsible for the development of the GIS side of DK landscape modelling.

James Henty Williams

Researcher

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 421 

SESS team role

James is a social scientist. He specialises in researching and applying theoretical concepts in decision-making processes for natural resource management. His particular areas of interest are adaptive management, decision modelling, multi-actor engagement and social learning. He is involved in a two EU H2020 projects, EcoStack and B-GOOD, the latter as work package leader for the project's multi-actor approach. He is also involved in the MUSBERAOrganic+ and IPol-ERA projects.

Xiaodong Duan

Researcher

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 428

SESS team role

Xiaodong has a background in machine learning and agent based modelling with various application areas including ecological modelling, robotics and building research. Currently, he mainly works on development of new species models for ALMaSS and model validation and sensitivity analysis using machine learning methods. 

Elżbieta Ziółkowska

Special Consultant

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé, DK-8000 Aarhus C

Working remotely

SESS team role

Elżbieta is employed part time with SESS and part time with the Jagiellonian University. Elżbieta’s main interest is in the assessment of landscape structure and its influence on ecological processes, biodiversity, and distribution and dispersal of organisms. Her background is in physical geography with expertise in GIS&T and spatial modeling. Elżbieta is currently involved in two EU-funded projects: within Better-B she is supervising development of EU database of floral resources for bees and spatio-temporal modeling of floral resources at the landscape scale, and within EcoStack she is developing spatio-temporal models of agricultural landscapes for the purpose of population modeling.

Elżbieta supports and coordinates development of ALMaSS landscape models for several EU countries. She is also involved in the development of species models, including model for the red mason bee Osmia bicornis, which is takes part in the MUSBERA project. She is also active in BFOOD-DK

Trine Poulsen

Postdoctoral Researcher

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 424

SESS team role

Trine has a PhD in particle physics from Lund University, and has previously worked on the ATLAS Experiment as a PostDoc at DESY, Hamburg. She has a strong interest in the climate and biodiversity crisis, especially the impact our current food system has on both.

Trine works with us as a PostDoc where she contributes to our tasks in the B-GOOD project in collaboration with Xiaodong.

Bjarke Damsgaard Eriksen

Programmer

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 424 

SESS team role

Bjarke has a Bachelor of Engineering from Aarhus University and has completed a DTU Ph.D. course on physically based rendering and material appearance modelling. He has previous experience as a Software Engineer focused on computer graphics, and he has a great interest in rendering and low-level programming. Bjarke's work at SESS includes working with the group to increase the efficiency of the models, debugging and testing them as well as maintaining the ALMaSS code.

Sara Nafisi

Academic Employee

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 420 

SESS team role

Sara is an experienced architect and researcher, with focus on ecological, digital, innovative and non-linear way of thinking and engaged with both the architectural design and the technical disciplines of architecture and landscape. She is well studied in digital design and fabrication in relation with computation technology, and she has a solid understanding of innovative and sustainable design approaches and their practical applications. 

Sara has joined the SESS team as a part time academic employee, and she is assisting us with our communication strategy, digital appearance and content creation. 

Astrid Holm Andersen

Research Assistant

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 424 

SESS team role

Astrid has a MSc in Biology from Aarhus University. She supports the SESS team with establishing an overview of the modelling developments, as well as running simulation scenarios for our ALMaSS involved projects.  

Natasha Mølgaard

Research Assistant

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 420 

SESS team role

Natasha has a BSc in Anthropology and MSc in Human Security from Aarhus University. She is conducting interviews and participant workshops, and assists the SESS team in developing the social science side of the centre. She is mainly involved in our Organic+ project, collaborating with James. 

Peet Thomsen

Research Assistant

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 420 

SESS team role

Peet has a MSc in Biology from Aarhus University. He supports the SESS team in the IPol-ERA project regarding coordination and desk research on pollinators, pesticides and risk assessment, as well as the EcoStack project regarding species modelling by searching and providing information on species' biological parameters needed to model species' behaviour and specifications.  

Liyan Xie

Research Assistant

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 420

SESS team role

Liyan is an ecotoxicologist who recently finished her PhD at the Section of Terrestrial Ecology at our Department of Ecoscience, Aarhus University. 

Now, she takes part in the SESS team, where she will apply her competencies within ecotoxicology, environmental risk assessment of chemicals and ecological modelling.

Liyan is involved in the EFSA ApisRAM project, where she will support the new developments adding greater functionality for pesticide and biological agent simulation, expanding the capability of ApisRAM towards its use for regulatory purposes.
 

Mikkel Birkedal Nielsen

Research Assistant

Aarhus University, Dept. of Ecoscience
C. F. Møllers Allé 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Building 1110, office 428 

SESS team role

Mikkel has a background in agricultural sciences and agronomy. He completed his master's thesis at Aarhus University in 2020, where he examined the conditions under which flower strips may or may not create value for pollinating insects. Specifically, he investigated bees' preferences for flower strips in variable agricultural landscapes and the seed composition of flower mixtures.

Mikkel has joined the SESS team as a part-time research assistant, and he is assisting us on the GUDP RDD9 EcoMetric project led by Yoko L. Dupont. In addition, he holds a part-time position as a consultant at NIRAS, a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy company.