Winter School in Ecological Modelling
From March 5-15, Niklas and Felix participated in the UFZ Winter School in Ecological Modelling. After attending a three-day programming course in C++ in Leipzig, we moved to the small town of Kohren-Sahlis, about 50 km south of Leipzig.
In a diverse group of people (ranging from high school students to post-docs with backgrounds from physics, ecology, glaciology or even economics), we were introduced to the wide variety of topics and methods in ecological modelling.
Our day usually started with a lecture on a certain class of models held by a senior UFZ researcher in the morning. After an extensive walk through the countryside, we had the afternoons to develop our own modelling projects: Throughout the course, we managed to conceptualize and successfully implement our first models on the breeding synchrony of birds (Felix) and non-hierarchical coexistence of different bacteria (Niklas). After dinner, we gained insight into the current work of several UFZ members, thus seeing the full potential – and challenges – of ecological modelling. But also the social activities with other group members, such as playing games, sharing stories over a drink or even live music, made the experience worthwhile.
All in all, we had lots of fun and gained valuable insights, inspiration and refined our programming skills.