Meeting people from other disciplines is always a great joy (and a great puzzle). I presented our ideas of how the physical concept of phase separation can be used to understand ecological patch dynamics in ecosystems such as seagrass beds and grazed salt marshes at a Pattern workshop at Princeton University, organized by Corina Tarnita, Rob Pringle and Simon Levin. I learned from physicist Nigel Goldenfeld that the secrets of spinodal decomposition may provide insights in when these important ecosystems can still be restored.
I am giving a talk on Lévy movement in self-organised ecosystems at the Company of Biologists conference “Current status and future directions of Lévy walk research” at Wiston House, UK. The venue has its appeals.
I participated in the Workshop on Geometric and Graph-based Approaches to Collective Motion in the Dagstuhl conference center in Wadern, Germany. We discussed how to compute the connectance of mussels within patterned mussel beds. It is amazing how these computer guys envision complex calculations when they see a bunch of mussels sitting in a pattern!
I visited the Max Planck Institute in Dresden to participate in the advanced study group on the Statistical Physics of Foraging. We discussed the complex strategies animal use to find their food.
I gave a lecture in Leiden in the “Van Leeuwenhoek Lecture on BioScience” series, on the 24th of September. I talked about the importance of an multidisciplinary approach when studying spatial self-organisation in ecology.
I gave an Evening Keynote talk about ecological self-organization at the Autogenic Dynamics Conference of the Society for Sedimentary Geology. We discussed possible signs of self-organization in the geological record. See an example in the poster image, of a deposit with stromatolite-like shapes found in the book cliffs, Colorado, where we went for a field visit.
On september 19, 2013, I gave giving a lecture entitled “The ecology of animal movement: can we learn from physics?”, and before the lecture interested PhD and Master students joined a Master class.
On February 18, I will give a talk at the Animal swarms workshop in Israel, talking about the importance of Darwinian adaptation and “Einsteinian” interactions in explaining the observed movement of “swarms” of mussels.
On the 5th of February, I gave a plenary lecture at the wintermeeting of the Dutch Ecological Society (the NAEM days) in Lunteren. My talk highlighted that Einstein’s theory of Brownian motion provides a interesting perspective on the processes underlying the movement of animals, highlighting that Brownian motion is an emergent property of the interactions between organisms, rather than a default model describing the innate movement of animals.
The company of biologists (Journal of Experimental Biology) organized the symposium “Integrating Biomechanics & Ecology” in Madingley Hall, Cambridge, UK.