Lecture "Nonlinear Dynamics in the Earth System: Climate, Ecology and Socio-Economy" - Winter term 2014/15


Place:   Department of Physics, Humboldt University,  Berlin-Adlershof

Lectures:   weekly,   Thursday 11-13 (ct), start Oct 16 (Dr. Reik Donner / Dr. Jonathan Donges),   room NEW 15 1'202

Tutorials:   bi-weekly,   Thursday 9-11 (ct), start Oct 30 (Marc Wiedermann),   room NEW 15 1'427

Lecture-ID:   40566 VL


Audience:   open for all students of natural sciences and related areas with particular interest in the physical modeling of climate, ecology and socio-economy (advanced BSc, MSc or PhD student level)

Certificate:   regular participation in lectures and tutorials, 50% of points from exercise sheets; for graded certificate: additional oral examination at the end of the lecture series 

Tentative list of topics (further may be added upon suggestions from the audience)

  1. Foundations of nonlinear dynamics: conservative vs. dissipative dynamics, phase space concept, qualitative analysis of dynamical systems, bifurcations, stochastic dynamics and noise-induced phenomena
  2. Conceptual models of Earth climate: energy balance models, oscillator models for glacial cycles, box models for thermo-haline circulation and monsoon dynamics, stochastic models of abrupt glacial climate shifts
  3. Tipping points in the Earth system: deterministic vs. stochastic models, behavior of dynamical systems close to codimension-one bifurcations, statistical detection of regime shifts via critical slowing down, potential approach
  4. Physics of socio-economic systems: agent-based modeling, models for contact dynamics, interaction and imitation, macroscopic description with rate equations, moment-closure approximations, network models
  5. Ecosystem dynamics: space-time models (deterministic and stochastic) in theoretical ecology, stability of ecosystems as complex networks, models for climate-ecosystem interactions and biogeochemical cycles, resource dynamics in socio-economic models



Specific literature for the individual lectures:

27 November 2014:   Foundations of theoretical ecology

  • R. Arditi, L.R. Ginzburg: Coupling in predator-prey dynamics: ratio-dependence. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 139, 311-326, 1989

4 December 2014:   Stochastic processes and stochastic models in ecology

  • O. Ovaskainen, B. Meerson: Stochastic models of population extinction. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25, 643-652, 2010
  • V. Dakos et al.: Robustness of variance and autocorrelation as indicators of critical slowing down. Ecology, 93, 264-271, 2012
  • V. Brovkin et al.: On the stability of the atmosphere-vegetation system in the Sahara/Sahel region. Journal of Geophysical Research, 103 (D24), 31613-31624, 1998
  • S. Bathiany et al.: Implications of climate variability for the detection of multiple equilibria and for rapid transitions in the atmosphere-vegetation system. Climate Dynamics, 38, 1775-1790, 2012


11 December 2014:   Modeling of food webs

  • H. Caswell, M.G. Neubert: Chaos and closure terms in plankton food chain models. Journal of Plankton Research, 20, 1837-1845, 1998
  • S.R. Carpenter et al.: Leading indicators of trophic cascades. Ecology Letters, 11, 128-138, 2008
  • D.B. Stouffer et al.: Quantitative patterns in the structure of model and empirical food webs. Ecology, 86, 1301-1311, 2005


18 December 2014:   Generalized modeling and applications

  • T. Gross, U. Feudel: Generalized models as a universal approach to the analysis of nonlinear dynamical systems. Physical Review E, 73, 016205, 2006
  • J.D. Yeakel et al.: Generalized modeling of ecological population dynamics. Theoretical Ecology, 4, 179-194, 2011
  • S.J. Lade: Regime shifts in a socio-ecological system. Theoretical Ecology, 6, 359-372, 2013


8 January 2015:   Generalized modeling of food webs, Socio-hydrology

  • T. Gross, U. Feudel: Generalized models as a universal approach to the analysis of nonlinear dynamical systems. Physical Review E, 73, 016205, 2006
  • T. Gross et al.: Generalized models reveal stabilizing factors in food webs. Science, 325, 747-750, 2009
  • A. Viglione et al.: Insights from socio-hydrology modelling on deadling with flood risk - Roles of collective memory, risk-taking attitude and trust. Journal of Hydrology, 518, 71-82, 2014



Last update:   10 January 2015