All organisms require inputs of energy and/or materials in order to grow and reproduce. Consumer-resource interactions in all its variations (i.e., plant-nutrient, plant-herbivore, predator-prey, host-parasitoid, and host-parasite) are central to ecological and evolutionary research. However, consumer-resource interactions are also the basis of exploitative competition (two or more consumers share resources), facilitation (one consumer increases resources for another) and many mutualisms (species trade ‘resources’). Most organisms function as both consumers and resources in a food web. The functional and numerical responses of the consumer and a function describing resource population growth are essential components of any consumer-resource interaction. Understanding these responses often requires that we understand the adaptive processes – behaviour, phenotypic plasticity and evolution – that shape these interactions on both short and long time-scales.
This one-week course will illustrate how adopting a consumer-resource approach can change our understanding of interactions, and how adaptive processes can be important in understanding both academic and applied problems in ecology. This edition of the course will focus on consumer-resource interactions in times of global environmental change at three levels of integration: the individual-population level, the community-ecosystem level and the socio-ecological level. Consumer-resource interactions at each of these levels of integration will be introduced by world-renowned experts, with a focus on the latest developments and ongoing research efforts. The introductions will provide the starting point for practical work by the participants to make the acquired knowledge operational. To this end, sub-groups are challenged to develop ideas for their own research: analysing their own data, writing a proposal, planning an experiment, developing a model or writing a paper. The lecturers and organisers will be available to all groups during the practical work, allowing participants intensive interaction with them. The main goal of the course will be achieved if the participants acquire novel ideas and techniques for their own research. Aside from updating and deepening your scientific knowledge in the field of consumer-resource interactions, this course also offers an excellent opportunity to broaden your network and to interact with world-class scientists in the field!
Former occurrences of this course
2-6 Dec 2018 | 26-30 Oct 2014 | 31 Jan – 4 Febr 2010