Mini-courses

Two mini-courses will be held during the meeting, no extra registration is needed. The format is 2 x 50 minutes and the topics are:

Hélène Morlon, Institut de Biologie, Ecole Normale Supérieure, France  http://www.biologie.ens.fr/phyloeco/index.html

Title: Phylogenetic comparative methods for studying diversification and phenotypic evolution

Abstract: Understanding how groups of species diversified, and how species phenotypes evolved during evolutionary history, is key to our understanding patterns of biodiversity as we see them around us today. Phylogenetic comparative methods have been developed to study diversification and phenotypic evolution from present-day data. These methods are based on stochastic evolutionary models and likelihood inference. I will first provide the basics of these methods. Then, I will present recent developments that allow testing the role of abiotic variables on rates of speciation, extinction and phenotypic evolution, as well as models that allow testing the role of species interactions – such as competitive, mutualistic, and antagonistic interactions – on phenotypic evolution. Finally, I will present empirical applications of these phylogenetic comparative methods to empirical datasets. I will end by discussing future directions and challenges in the development of phylogenetic comparative methods.


David Sumpter, Department of Mathematics, Uppsala University, Sweden http://katalog.uu.se/profile/?id=N7-525

Title: The mathematics of collective animal behaviour

Abstract: Fish travel in schools, birds migrate in flocks, honeybees swarm, and ants build trails. How and why do these collective behaviors occur? An important part of the explanation is done using mathematical models.

I discuss how models can be used to investigates how animals move and arrive together, how they transfer information, how they make decisions and synchronize their activities, and how they build collective structures. These involve self-propelled particle models, Markov chains and game theory models, to name just a few. The course will be about how to choose the right model for the right problem and give basic insight in to how each model works.

I will also discuss new applications of these techniques to human groups and societies.