Volker Grimm


Volker Grimm


Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research - UFZ

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Volker Grimm currently works at the Department of Ecological Modelling, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung. Volker does research in ecology and biodiversity research.

Research Interests

How to model it: Ecological models, in particular simulation models, often seem to be formulated ad hoc and only poorly analysed. I am therefore interested in strategies and methods for making ecological modelling more coherent and efficient. The ultimate aim is to develop preditive models that provide mechanstic understanding of ecological systems and that are transparent and structurally realistic enough to support environmental decision making.

Pattern-oriented modelling: This is a general strategy of using multiple patterns observed in real systems as multiple criteria for chosing model structure, selecting among alternative submodels, and inversely determining entire sets of unknown model parameters.

Individual-based and agent-based modelling: For many, if not most, ecological questions individual-level aspects can be decisive for explaining system-level behavior. IBM/ABMs allow to represent individual heterogeneity, local interactions, and/or adaptive behaviour

Ecological theory and concepts: I am particularly interested in exploring stability properties like resilience and persistence.

Modelling for ecological applications: Pattern-oriented modelling allows to develop structurally realistic models, which can be used to support decision making and the management of biodiversity and natural resources. Currently, I am involved in the EU project CREAM, where a suite of population models is developed for pesticide risk assessment.

Standards for model communication and formulation: In 2006, we published a general protocol for describing individual- and agent-based models, called the ODD protocol (Overview, Design concepts, details). ODD turned out to be more useful (and needed) than we expected.

The model is designed to analyse the effects of mitigation measures on the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus), which is directly affected by ongoing land use change and has experienced widespread decline throughout Europe since the 1960s. As an input, we use two 4×4 km large model landscapes, which were generated by a landscape generator based on real field sizes and crop proportions and differed in average field size and crop composition. The crops grown annually are evaluated in terms of forage suitability, breeding suitability and crop richness for the hare. Six mitigation scenarios are implemented, defined by a 10 % increase in: (1) mixed silphie, (2) miscanthus, (3) grass-clover ley, (4) alfalfa, (5) set-aside, and (6) general crop richness. The model shows that that both landscape configuration and composition have a significant effect on hare population development, which responds particularly strongly to compositional changes.

The model is a combination of a spatially explicit, stochastic, agent-based model for wild boars (Sus scrofa L.) and an epidemiological model for the Classical Swine Fever (CSF) virus infecting the wild boars.

The original model (Kramer-Schadt et al. 2009) was used to assess intrinsic (system immanent host-pathogen interaction and host life-history) and extrinsic (spatial extent and density) factors contributing to the long-term persistence of the disease and has further been used to assess the effects of intrinsic dynamics (Lange et al. 2012a) and indirect transmission (Lange et al. 2016) on the disease course. In an applied context, the model was used to test the efficiency of spatiotemporal vaccination regimes (Lange et al. 2012b) as well as the risk of disease spread in the country of Denmark (Alban et al. 2005).

References: See ODD model description.

The model represents migration of the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, between foraging and breeding sites in the Southwest Indian Ocean. The purpose of the model is to investigate the impact of local environmental conditions, including the quality of foraging sites and ocean currents, on emerging migratory corridors and reproductive output and to thereby identify conservation priority sites.

Corresponding article to found here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/ece3.5552

Under development.

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