Our research in ecological modelling takes a closer look at human influence on and use of ecosystem services. Network and life-history analysis are key mathematical tools, but field studies are also conducted. Research includes studying the sensitivity of food chains to disturbance, the possibilities for sustainable fishing in the Baltic Sea, endangered fish stocks in Sweden's lakes, using a landscape perspective to minimise risk of infection spread in domestic livestock, environmental monitoring of freshwater mussels, and biological diversity in life-cycle analyses.
Factors influencing organisms' distribution
Ecological modelling studies ecosystems at multiple levels from the relationship of individuals to their environment to interactions between species to the functioning of entire ecosystems. Among the important knowledge produced is how changes in the environment affect ecological systems and the ecosystem services they contribute, as well as how to best manage our biological resources for future generations.
Using computer simulations and mathematical models
Ecological modelling relies on mathematics and computer simulations to study ecological issues. With the right model, one can describe and analyse the most important components and processes of an ecosystem and so learn more about how the system works in general.
Ecological models are built on existing theories and knowledge using real ecological data. A model can be used to simulate various scenarios. If the model correctly describes the system, one can predict what is likely to happen in any given scenario. Ecological modelling can be used to study the effect of ways of managing nature: for example, what might happen if a biological resource is used in a certain way. Models enable studies that cannot be carried out in the real world due to ethical or practical considerations, such as high cost.
Contributing to increased knowledge
Human beings depend on healthy, sustainable ecosystems. They use biological resources and rely on ecosystem services in uncountably many ways. Research at the University of Skövde contributes to increased knowledge about ecosystems, including their sustainable management, while providing decision support for the conservation of biological diversity.