All organisms require inputs of energy and/or materials in order to grow and reproduce. Consumer-resource interactions in all its variations (i.e. plant-nutrient, plant-herbivore, predator-prey, host-parasitoid, and host-parasite) are central to ecological and evolutionary research. However, consumer-resource interactions are also the basis of exploitative competition (two or more consumers share resources), facilitation (one consumer increases resources for another) and many mutualisms (species trade ‘resources’). Most organisms function as both consumers and resources in a food web.
The functional and numerical responses of the consumer and a function describing resource population growth are essential components of any consumer-resource interaction. Understanding these responses often requires that we understand the adaptive processes – evolution, behaviour, and phenotypic plasticity – that shape these interactions on both short and long time-scales.
The course will focus on three selected topics within the field of consumer-resource interactions: Hunger, Health and Horror. These topics will be introduced by world-renowned experts, with a focus on the latest developments and ongoing research efforts.
The introductions will provide the starting point for practical work by the participants to make the acquired knowledge operational. To this end, sub-groups are challenged to develop ideas for their own research: analyzing their own data, writing a proposal, planning an experiment, developing a model or writing a paper.
The lecturers and organisers will be available to all groups during the practical work, allowing participants intensive interaction with them. The main goal of the course will be achieved if the participants acquire novel ideas and techniques for their own research.
- On Sunday evening, we start with warming-up lectures by the organisers.
- On Monday, the basics of consumer-resource interactions and the topics will be introduced. Then groups will be formed.
- During the following days, there will be lectures on specific topics, followed by discussion.
- The rest of the day will be spent on the practical work, under the supervision of the lecturers and the organisers.
- On the last day, the groups present their practical work to all participants.
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Course in 2006
Course in 2010
Course in 2014