Social Ecnomic/ecological complexity
social-ecological modelling; cognitive modelling; agent-based modeling&simulation; data science; smart city modelling; artificial intelligence; large-scale simulation
Volker Grimm currently works at the Department of Ecological Modelling, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung. Volker does research in ecology and biodiversity research.
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.
In my research I focus on understanding human behaviour in group(s) as a part of a complex (social) system. My research can be characterised by the overall question: ‘How does group or collective behaviour arise or change given its social and physical context?‘ More specifically, I have engaged with: ‘How is (individual) human behaviour affected by being in a crowd?’, ‘Why do some groups (cooperatively) use their resources sustainably, whereas others do not?‘, ‘What is the role of (often implicit simplistic) assumptions regarding human behaviour for science and/or management?’
To address these questions, I use computational simulations to integrate and reflect synthesised knowledge from literature, empirics and experts. Models, simulation and data analysis are my tools for gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying such systems. More specifically, I work with agent-based modelling (ABM), simulation experiments and data analysis of large datasets. Apart from crowd modelling and social-ecological modelling, I also develop methodological tools to analyse social simulation data and combining ABM with other methods, such as behavioural experiments.
Positions held today:
• Associate Professor for Geoinformatics and Ecology at the University of Salzburg (since 2017)
• UNIGIS Program Director (since 2020)
• Head of the Research Group “Spatial Simulation” (since 2013)
Major academic milestones:
• Assistant Professor, Department for Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg (2013-2017)
• Associate Faculty in the FWF Doctoral College “GIScience” (2013-2017)
• Director of Studies UNIGIS MSc distance learning programs, University of Salzburg (2012-2020)
• PhD at the University of Innsbruck on ecological modelling (2011)
• Research Assistant Austrian Academy of Sciences, GIScience Institute (2007-2011)
• Magistra in Ecology, Univ. of Innsbruck (2001) and MSc in GIS, Univ. of Edinburgh (2006)
Spatially-explicit simulation modelling of complex, ecological systems: * the added value of spatially-explicit modelling * Hybrid agent-based and system-dynamics modelling in ecology * Agent-based models, Cellular Automata
Ecology - Natural Resources Management (Community-based management)
I worked on natural resources management modelling in STELLA. I developed a technical and scientific model to analyze soil, climate and biological conditions to explain how Bamboo ecosystem works and how people in Cundinamarca, Colombia could focus on a sustainable model for use and manage forestry resources.
Also, I worked on the seventh framework program named: Community-based management of Environmental Challenges in Latin America -COMET-LA-. The project built a learning arena with scientists, civil society and government to identify sustainable models for governance of natural resources in social-ecological systems located in a rural context from Colombia, México and Argentina.
I am interesting in research on Modelling of governance and Community-based management of natural resources.
I am strongly interested in ecological modeling and complex system and truly enjoyed working with a variety of tools to uncover patterns in empirical data and explore their ecological and evolutionary consequences. My primary research is to conduct research in the field of ‘ecological complexity’, including the development of appropriate descriptive measure to quantify the structural, spatial and temporal complexity of ecosystem and the identification of the mechanism that generate this complexity, through modeling and field studies.
Currently investigated is how biological characteristics of invasive species (dispersal strategies and demographic processes) interact with abiotic variables and resource distribution to determine establishment success and spread in a complex heterogeneous environment (Individual based modelling integrated with GIS technologies).