Theoretical Ecology Group

Institutt for biovitenskap
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Our goal is to describe the function and dynamics of individuals, populations, and ecosystems as emerging from adaptations to current and changing environments. Our toolbox centers on computer models that couple the environment, ecology, and evolution, and we compare to data where possible. This enables formulation of new hypotheses and refined expectations, based on a richer and deeper understanding of organisms as well as their interactions and effects.

Research Themes

Trait-based Marine Ecosystem Models
Traditionally, ecosystem models represent a few important groups of organisms. In trait-based models organisms are characterised as continuums of traits, and winners emerge from a process resembling natural selection.

Animal Decision Making
Since 1990 we have been involved in modeling decision-making, particularly in fish and plankton. We have been using Life History Theory, Game Theory and State-Dependent Optimization to model both short-term and life-history decisions.

More recently, we have been using Genetic Algorithms to evolve adaptive behaviors in Individual-Based Models, with a focus on the architecure for decision-making in individuals.

Evolution of Mating Systems
How may mating strategies affect parental investment and cooperation? Using theoretical models of common ecological mechanisms we study how extra-pair mating may trigger male-male cooperation in predator defence and sharing of resources. This provides an adaptive explanation for female promiscuity and a new hypothesis for the evolution of cooperation.

Evolution in Fisheries Science
Industrial fishing is the main source of mortality for many commercially harvested fish stocks, and there is increasing concern that this will cause evolutionary changes in the fish species themselves. We use models as a virtual laboratory to study fish evolution. By varying the external pressures, such as fishing, we simulate fish evolution to assess ecological and economical consequences.

Fish Larval Ecology
Larval fish ecology is a theme connecting oceanography and plankton ecology to fisheries science.


Dag L. Aksnes
Sergey Budaev
Associate Professor
Sigrunn Eliassen
Øyvind Fiksen
Jarl Giske
PhD Student
Laura Hildesheim
PhD Student
Camilla Håkonsrud Jensen
Group Leader, Professor
Christian Jørgensen
Tom J. Langbehn
Christian Lindemann
PhD Student
Gabriella Ljungström
Adjunct Professor
Marc Mangel
Adéle Mennerat
Anders F. Opdal
PhD student
Nicolas J. I. Rodriguez
PhD Student
Agnieszka Ruminska
PhD Student
Jacqueline Weidner


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