International Symposium on DEB: Keynotes

JoLynn Carroll

Assistant Director, Akvaplan-niva
Professor, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway

Trained originally as a sedimentary biogeochemist, Professor Carroll is Assistant Director of Akvaplan-niva, a leading organization in Norway’s High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment (Fram Center). She holds an adjunct Professorship at the University of Tromsø. Professor Carroll’s activities relate to the detection of ecosystem responses to multiple anthropogenic impact factors, such as climate, fisheries, and petroleum development. Her work involves integrated problem-solving fostered through collaboration across institutional boundaries and creating partnerships among government, industry, and academia. At present, Professor Carroll is leading a large multi-disciplinary R&D program jointly financed by government and industry to create a flexible modeling platform for scenario assessments that integrates state of the art models and scientific knowledge on the ecosystem of the Barents Sea. She is the lead environmental scientist in two Norwegian Research Council supported Centers of Excellence – Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE) and Research Center for Arctic Petroleum Exploration (ARCEx), both based at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway.

Title: Environmental sustainability challenges in the Arctic – developing solutions with the help of DEB

Rich in natural resources, the Arctic is experiencing a significant increase in sea-based activities related to maritime transport, offshore energy, tourism, coastal development, fisheries and aquaculture. This northwards expansion of industrialization is partly due to new discoveries of natural resources but also to improved access routes and newly available infrastructure in the region. In 2006, Norway became the first nation to establish an ecosystem-based management (EBM) policy approach to reconcile their nation’s maritime activities with environmental sustainability. The European Union followed in 2008 with the adoption of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Translating EBM policy into practice requires development of ecosystems monitoring methods and modeling tools to identify changes and assess impacts. The consistent application of mechanistic principles, provided by the DEB approach, is essential to achieving this aim. In this presentation, I will present, from the end-user perspective, example applications of the DEB approach for environmental sustainability in the Arctic setting.

Sebastiaan A.L.M. Kooijman

Inventor of the DEB theory
VU University Amsterdam

After my PhD on the statistical analysis of point processes on a surface at Leiden University, I worked for 9 years at TNO in Delft on environmental risk assessment. There I started to work on what I later called the Dynamic Energy Budget theory to quantify sublethal effects of toxicants on organisms and to evaluate their environmental significance. I continued development of this theory during my 30 years of service at VU University Amsterdam as professor in theoretical biology, and very much enjoyed working with 50 PhD students and many colleages in a variety of disciplines and many countries. My aim with the theory broadened over the years to become a foundation for quantitative eco-physiology in general, which combines nicely with my main hobby in field biology, where I like to hike in remote areas to enjoy the beauties of life.

Title: Biodiversity in the context of DEB theory

One of the key questions that grabbed me during the development of DEB theory was: How can a simple theory on the metabolism of organisms be that accurate despite the huge biodiversity that exists? In the context of DEB theory it is natural to look for answers in a table of parameters versus species. Ecophysiological literature is full of reports on life history strategies and on how properties depend on body size. Think of r-and-K strategies, altricial-precocial spectra, Kleiber's law, generalist versus specialist, evolution of parental care. We found several more, such as supply-demand spectra, metabolic acceleration, waste-to-hurry. My more detailed questions were: can we find these patterns back in the position of species in the parameter space and can we understand why this diversity could have been unfolded during evolution? Each strategy seems to have its own advantage and disadvantage. My lecture will try to share some of many wanderings and place it in the context of evolution of homeostasis and syntrophic interaction.

Sofia Saraiva

Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute,
Oceanography Unit

I graduated on Environmental Engineering in 2001, by Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST), University of Lisbon (UL). In the same year, I started a junior position at MARETEC (IST) where I worked for several years, on several different projects and topics, always related with ecosystem modelling and biogeochemical cycles of nutrients. In 2005, I concluded my MSc project on modelling macroalgae in Ria de Aveiro (Portugal). Two years ago I defended my PhD project: 'Modelling bivalves in estuaries and coastal areas', which was a joint project between the University of Lisbon (Portugal), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NL) and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ, NL). During the PhD I explored in detail the metabolic processes of bivalves, their growth and population dynamics, but also their effect on the pelagic system. I developed and coupled an individual-based population model (using the Dynamic Energy Budget theory) to a hydrodynamic and biogeochemical model (MOHID Water Modelling System) and applied it to a region of the Wadden Sea (The Netherlands). I am now based at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Oceanography Unit, Research Department. In my current project we aim to build future climate projections on the water quality and lower trophic levels in the Baltic Sea. These scenarios are performed with the coupled physical-biogeochemical RCO 3D numerical model different meteo-oceanographic forcing that is the result of the downscale of Global Climate Models.

Title: A simple application of a complex ecosystem model

In this talk I will describe a process oriented model that integrates physical, biogeochemical, ecological and physiological factors governing bivalve populated marine ecosystems. This modelling tool is the result of the coupling between an individual-based population model for bivalves (based on the DEB theory) and a hydrodynamic/biogeochemical model (MOHID). The model was implemented in the Balgzand area (Wadden Sea, The Netherlands) in a fine resolution domain to study mussel population dynamics and to quantify the influence of mussel communities on the pelagic system. I will describe some of the main results and achievements of this work but also the main uncertainties on the data, on the model setup and on the processes description as a step into the possible future applications

Jan Baas

Center for Hydrology and Ecology, UK

After my graduation as a chemist, I worked for 9 years at a Dutch contract research organisation The Netherlands Institute for Applied Scientific Research in Delft on environmental exposures. This was the first time I was faced with effects of possible effects of simultaneous exposures to multiple compounds (or mixtures) and the general incapability to deal with mixture effects. This led to a PhD at Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam with Prof. Kooijman as a promotor and Dr Jager as co-promotor in understanding and predicting effects of mixtures. I am now based at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, where I still work on effects of mixtures.

Title: Effects of mixtures explained

In my presentation I will give some background on the line of reasoning in ecotoxicology and how regulation has influenced this line of reasoning. I will explain how the use of DEB-based approaches can help our understanding of effects of toxicants under real life conditions with examples of applications and a future perspective on the progress in this area of research.

Mike Harfoot


Mike is an earth system scientist with a strong interest in the biological world and his work primarily involves developing mechanistic models to project biodiversity futures. In particular, Mike is working with colleagues at WCMC and Microsoft Research to develop the Madingley model, a novel model of ecosystems. In addition, Mike works with others in the Centre to construct and employ models that can provide insights and answers to specific conservation questions.

Title: General Ecosystem Models: virtual tools for exploring the living world

The ecosystems of planet earth are facing unprecedented pressures as a result of human action. At the same time, ecology as a discipline is increasingly demanding more mechanistic understanding of what causes observed ecological patterns, in part for the development of the science but also to help mitigate impacts. Here, I will present the Madingley Model, a General Ecosystem Model that aims to provide a mechanistic understanding of how ecosystems, on land and in the seas, are structured and how they function, and for how anthropogenic changes might alter that structure and function. Energy budgets are fundamental for organisms and so play a key part in the model, but questions remain to be explored about how metabolism interacts with other aspects ecology, for example organismal intelligence and behavioural responses.