Spatial Ecology

You are here


Spatial Ecology

To be announced


Including space in ecological studies has become increasingly important in the past decades. Recent studies reveal that ecological processes can generate striking spatial complexity and that the movement and distribution of organisms interact with spatial environmental patterns.
This course focuses on concepts such as spatial self-organization, scale-free movement, and biophysical interactions at multiple scales. Furthermore, modern techniques to quantify plant and animal movement, analyse animal movement strategies, and model the implications of spatial self-organization in an ecosystem using a relatively simple modelling approach will be introduced.


The course is composed of a series of lectures, a poster session, working group activities and finalized with a debating session.
Lectures and discussion: Each day starts with an international speaker giving a lecture on one of the key course topics, covering both the general theory and their own research. After each lecture, a discussion of 30 minutes is held, which is convened by three participants who challenge the speaker on the presentation and papers that the speaker submitted (which participants will receive before the course).
Poster session: Prior to the course, participants must submit a poster of their work (A1-size) in PDF, which will be printed by the course office. The poster must contain your name and affiliation, title and short description of your research project with one highlight (something exciting) and the reason why you want to participate in this course. Participants briefly (3 minutes) highlight the poster followed by ample time for participants and lecturers to visit individual posters. Posters will remain in the lecture room throughout the course.
Group activities: On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, participants will be split into working groups, which will work on specific group assignments associated with the work of the lecturers. The exact topics of these activities will be selected by the participants. Each group will present the results to all course participants on Thursday. This will help participants to gain hands-on experience in designing a mathematical model, setting up a study of movement behaviour, analysing data of movement or spatial patterns, and how to study the inter-actions between organisms and physical processes, depending on their interests. Group activities will be supervised by the lecturers and course organizers, so that the students can optimally benefit from experts that are among the leaders in their fields.
Debating session: Two groups (about 5 participants per group) will debate on propositions that have been brought forward by speakers or have appeared to be a point of discussion during the course.

The programme of the last edition of this course (March 2014) can be downloaded here.


Generally, a number of world-renowned experts / lecturers will be invited to contribute to this course. in the last edition of this course, the following experts contributed to the course:

  • Sonia Kéfi (CNRS, Montpellier, France)
  • Frederic Bartumeus (Centre for Advanced Studies of Blanes)
  • Caz M. Taylor (Tulane University, New Orleans, USA)
  • Nicolas Barbier (IRD/UMR AMAP, Montpellier, France)
Course organisers
  • Johan van de Koppel (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
  • Eelke Folmer (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
  • Maarten Eppinga (Utrecht University)
  • Claudius van de Vijver (Graduate School PE&RC)
General information
Target Group The course is aimed at PhD candidates and other academics
Group Size Min. 15, max. 25 participants
Course duration 5 days
Language of instruction English
Frequency of recurrence Every three years
Number of credits 1.5 ECTS
Prior knowledge Basic knowledge of spatial ecology is preferred
Location In-house, at a venue near Wageningen
More information

Claudius van de Vijver (PE&RC)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485116

Lennart Suselbeek (PE&RC)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485426

Registration of interest

At this moment, this course is not scheduled yet. However, if you register your interest in this activity below, we will inform you as soon as the course is scheduled and registration of participation is opened.