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Functional ecology from organism to ecosystem: theory and computation (FEER01)

Oliver Hooker, October 29, 2018

Functional ecology from organism to ecosystem: theory and computation (FEER01)

This course will be delivered in Glasgow from the 26th - 30th November 2018

Course Overview: The course will describe different aspects and methods in the field of functional ecology, combining theoretical lessons with hands-on real data. Lectures will provide the theoretical and mathematical basis for different applications of functional traits at organismal, community and ecosystem levels, with examples across different trophic levels. This will serve as a basis for exploring the practical tools to connect the effect of land-use and climate change on biodiversity to the effect of biodiversity on to multiple ecosystem functions and ecological services. An overview of existing computational methods, including recent developments authored by the lecturers, will be provided during the course and the students will learn how to apply them using functions and scripts run in R. Students are welcome to apply these tools to their own data, or use the data provided, to be analysed during the course while benefiting from advise by the lecturers. As such, compared to other courses given by the lectures, this is a slightly a more advanced and data oriented course which concentrates on detailed and practical aspects in functional traits related applications, especially computational ones. The aim of the course is to provide participants with a handy synthesis of existing concepts, tools and trends in functional ecology and guide them to apply these tools to their own field of interest. As the field of functional ecology is rapidly expanding, participants will be ready to exploit the potential of the main trait approaches.

Monday 26th – Classes from 09:30 to 17:30 • People’s traits game • Introduction to functional ecology and key definitions • Environmental filtering and related community metrics • Overview on functional trait community metrics • Practical with ‘community weighted mean’ and solution to potential biases

Tuesday 27th – Classes from 09:30 to 17:30 • Species level analyses • Missing values and trait databases • Functional diversity indices (alpha, beta and gamma diversity) • Practical with functional diversity indices

Wednesday 28th – Classes from 09:30 to 17:30 • Trait evolution and the relevance of phylogenetic distance between species • Phylogenetic corrections • Combining functional and trait information • Practical on phylogeny and traits

Thursday 29th – Classes from 09:30 to 17:30 • Community assembly: theory • Community assembly: from species to community level analyses • Null-models • Practical on community assembly

Friday 30th – Classes from 09:30 to 16:00 • Effects of traits on ecosystem processes and services • The trait sampling game • Intraspecific trait variability: biological relevance and quantification • Practical on intraspecific trait variability


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