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26. Systemwissenschaftliches Kolloquium

Wintersemester 2019/20

Das Kolloquium findet nur im Wintersemester jeweils mittwochs von 16:15 bis 18:00 Uhr im Institut für Umweltsystemforschung, Barbarastr. 22c, Raum 93/E07 statt.

Programmübersicht

30.10.2019

Dr. Yael Artzy-Randrup
, University of Amsterdam, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics:
Applying eco-evolutionary principles as an extension to the ‘magic bullet’ paradigm of modern medicine

 

06.11.2019

Prof. Dr. Thomas Potthast, Universität Tübingen, Internationales Zentrum für Ethik in den Wissenschaften:
Knowledge and morals concerning environmental systems – Epistemic-moral hybrids in the light of the biodiversity crisis

 

13.11.2019

Dr. Thomas Hovestadt, Universität Würzburg, Theoretical Evolutionary Ecology Group:
Incompetence meets inefficiency: the counter-intuitive effects of Microdon parasitism on Formica ant’s reproductive success

 

20.11.2019

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Bamberg, FH Bielefeld, University of Applied Sciences:
How can psychology contribute to the understanding of societal transition processes?

 

27.11.2019

Prof. Dr. Christian Kost, Universität Osnabrück:
Evolution of metabolic cooperation within microbial communities

 

04.12.2019

Prof. Dr. Karin Ingold, Universität Bern, Institut für Politikwissenschaft:
Pesticide use in Agriculture and its Impacts on the Environment and Human Health: Regulatory Coherence in Costa Rica.

 

18.12.2019

Prof. Dr. Jamie Linton, Université de Limoges:
Nature, People, and the Water Framework Directive

 

08.01.2020

Prof. Dr. Diomar C. Mistro & Prof. Dr. Luiz A. Rodrigues, UFSM - Universidade Federal de Santa Maria - Santa Maria RS, Brasilien:
A discrete model for the impact of sylvatic yellow fever on the howler monkeys (Alouatta guariba clamitans) in Southern Brazil

 

15.01.2020

Prof. Dr. Martin Quaas, Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung – iDiv & Universität Leipzig
Welfare effects of fisheries regulation

 

22.01.2020

Dr. Michael Sieber, Max-Planck-Institut für Evolutionsbiologie Plön, Abteilung für Evolutionstheorie:
Neutral theory and host-parasite interactions - tackling the complexity of the microbiome with di_erent modelling approaches

 

29.01.2020

Prof. Dr. Mirjam Kretzschmar, Utrecht University & National Institute of Public Health and Environment (RIVM)
Emergence and transitions in infectious disease dynamics

 

05.02.2020

Dr. Andreas Focks, University Wageningen - Netherlands
Eco(toxico)logical modeling for the assessment of environmental risks of plant protection products

 

 

 

 

Kurzfassung der Vorträge

30.10.2019
Dr. Yael Artzy-Randrup,
University of Amsterdam, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Applying eco-evolutionary principles as an extension to the ‘magic bullet’ paradigm of modern medicine
A central paradigm underlying 20th century medicine is inspired by the idyllic notion of ‘magic bullets’. This term, first coined by the revolutionary immunologist Paul Ehrlich who also fathered modern hematology and the field of chemotherapy, represents the ongoing pursuit to develop treatments that will exclusively target and kill disease-causing agents (e.g., pathogens and tumor cells), without harming the body itself. Paradigmatic examples of potential “magic bullets” include antibiotics, designed for clearing bacterial infections, chemotherapy, designed for eradicating cancer tumors, and vaccines, designed for protection from and elimination of deadly diseases.

        An important aspect that is missing in the current paradigm, I argue, is the eco-evolutionary context which is associated with all living systems. For one, all populations display natural variation. This implies that treatment may not be homogeneously effective across all agents in a population, be they pathogens or tumor cells. Hence, the prevailing belief that with sufficient research we will ultimately find perfect “magic bullets” that can singlehandedly eliminate all their target agents, may be somewhat unrealistic and therefore possibly also counterproductive, in terms of how treatment is conceptually and strategically being approach. Chemotherapy, for example, rarely manages to wipe out all tumor cells, and vaccines, for example, are unlikely to eliminate viruses like influenza due to high levels of antigenic diversity.  Secondly, selection being imposed by treatment with “magic bullets”, leads the disease-causing agents to become moving targets, which naturally interferes with the effectiveness of these treatments. Emergence of drug resistance following intense chemotherapy or antibiotic treatment, for example, can be expected considering the relatively high replication rare in such populations, where the eco-evolutionary time scales are effectively coupled.
        In this lecture I address two case studies where a broader eco-evolutionary approach is used as an extension of the current ‘magic bullet’ paradigm. The examples address both communicable (i.e., the multi-strain protozoan, Plasmodium falciparum, responsible for the deadliest type of malaria in humans) and non-communicable (metastatic cancer) diseases.

1.    Gatenby R, Artzy-Randrup Y, Epstein T, Reed D, and Brown J (2019) Eradicating metastatic cancer and the eco-evolutionary dynamics of Anthropocene extinctions. Cancer Research (accepted)

2.    He X, Pilosof S, Tiedje K, Artzy-Randrup Y, et al. (2018) Networks of genetic similarity reveal non-neutral processes shape strain structure in Plasmodium falciparum. Nature Comm.

3.    Day K, Artzy-Randrup Y, et al. (2017) Evidence of strain structure in Plasmodium falciparum var gene repertoires in children from Gabon, West Africa. PNAS.

4.    Artzy-Randrup Y, Rorick M, Chen D, Dobson A, Day K and Pascual P (2012) Population structuring of multi-copy, antigen-encoding genes in Plasmodium falciparum. eLife.

06.11.2019
Prof. Dr. Thomas Potthast,
Universität Tübingen, Internationales Zentrum für Ethik in den Wissenschaften

Knowledge and morals concerning environmental systems – Epistemic-moral hybrids in the light of the biodiversity crisis
The loss of biodiversity has been documented for many decades and the necessary system knowledge about the causes as well as well-founded remedies seem to be available for some time, as well. But why protect biodiversity at all? Although this question may appear somewhat odd in times of crisis, it is necessary to be able to provide solid answers. This talk will first provide an overview on different approaches of environmental ethics, with a special focus on different value dimensions of biodiversity following the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Then, new ethical approaches around the Intergovernmental Platform of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) like “nature’s contributions to people” will be critically discussed. In the last part, I will suggest the notion of “epistemic-moral hybrids” as a conceptual tool for a better understanding and a more apt treatment of ethical aspects in the environmental sciences. “Biodiversity” can be seen as a paradigm case for an epistemic-moral hybrid. My overall thesis is that getting the facts straight already implies getting (at least some) values straight – and vice versa. Acknowledging the presence of moral issues also within “the world of facts” will make them communicable – and open to deliberation. Safeguarding biodiversity is part of a comprehensive idea of sustainable development and thus a socio-political task. Closing considerations will address ecological, ethical and political aspects of a necessary system transformation.

13.11.2019
Dr. Thomas Hovestadt, Theoretical Evolutionary Ecology Group, Dept. Animal Ecology & Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg

Incompetence meets inefficiency: the counter-intuitive effects of Microdon parasitism on Formica ant’s reproductive success
Social insects dominate ecosystems in many parts of the world substantiating the huge success of the social life-style. Nest of social insects provide, however, also a rich and concentrated resource that attracts ‘social parasites’ that may exploit these resources. Hoverflies of the genus Microdon are parasites of Formica ants preying on eggs and young brood inside the ant’s colonies. This parasitism has counter-intuitive consequences for the fitness of ants that can be explained, however, by a simple model.

20.11.2019
Prof. Dr. Sebastian Bamberg, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Applied Sciences, Bielefeld

How can psychology contribute to the understanding of societal transition processes?                   Exploration of a research perspective
In the last years within sustainability research the agreement has changed about what should be the focus of strategies to solve the ongoing and still intensifying ecological crisis. Whereas for a long time the focus was on the “greening” of the individual lifestyles, now the focus is on the fundamental transition of central societal production and consumption systems. This raises the question what environmental psychology with its traditional focus on the individual can contribute to a better understanding and successful design of societal transition processes. Aim of the present paper is to give an impulse how such a psychological research perspective might look like. Starting point of our proposal is the social identity concept. We view social identity as central for understanding the transformation of an individual into a group member who voluntarily collaborates with others to create more sustainable solutions for central societal needs. The presentation delivers compact descriptions of thought provoking research lines which developed in the last years. These research lines contribute to a better understanding how such social identities as collective climate activists are “crafted” and through which processes such activist identities influence the participation in collective climate action. In sum, an important psychological contribution to the debate about the “Great Transformation” could be to provide a better understanding what motivates people to actively participate in transition oriented initiatives and how this motivation could be strengthened.

27.11.19
Prof. Dr. Christian Kost,
University of Osnabrück, Division of Ecology

Evolution of metabolic cooperation within microbial communities

Cooperative interactions pose an evolutionary conundrum: why should one organism invest costly resources to benefit another individual and not use them to enhance its own fitness? Despite this problem, obligate interactions, in which two or more microorganisms exchange costly metabolites, are very common in natural microbial communities. However, the factors facilitating the evolution of metabolic cooperation as well as the consequences resulting for the interacting partners, remain poorly understood. We address this issue experimentally by analysing genetically engineered and experimentally evolved cooperative cross-feeding interactions. Our experiments reveal that adaptive advantages drive the evolution of cooperative cross-feeding: by loosing the ability to autonomously produce certain metabolites, bacteria become dependent on other community members producing these compounds. These metabolic interdependencies trigger a coevolutionary process, during which mutual cooperative investments rapidly increase. This process is guided by self-organizing principles that emerge from local interactions among individual cells and give rise to a strong competition among groups of cells. Together, the presented results suggests bacteria likely function as multicellular, interconnected entities rather than as individual, physiologically autonomous units.

04.12.2019
Prof. Dr. Karin Ingold
, Universität Bern, Institut für Politikwissenschaft

Pesticide use in Agriculture and its Impacts on the Environment and Human Health: Regulatory Coherence in Costa Rica.
In times, where modernization, demographic growth, globalization and economic competition call for more intense and rigorous measures to boost the economy, environmental and human protection are often put at risk or even more, neglected. Within this context, conflicting resource uses arise.

This research sheds light on the conflict between pesticide use on one side, and the use and protection of four selected ecosystem services (drinking water, aquatic ecosystem, rural, and occupational health) on the other. We select pesticide use in the agricultural production of Costa Rica, a country with a strong agricultural sector still heavily relying on the application of agro-chemicals. In this context we ask: How does the institutional regime in Costa Rica protect the resources human health and water from the negative impacts of pesticide use? Are use rivalries a consequence of institutional inconsistencies?

To answer these questions, we systematically identify all legal texts regulating pesticide use and code them focusing on their defined goals, policy instruments, target groups of these instruments, and competence allocation to authorities and other actors. In this way, we evaluate the quality of the public policies, as well as the definition of user and property rights.

18.12.2019
Prof. Dr. Jamie Linton, Université de Limoges:

Nature, People, and the Water Framework Directive

This presentation is based on a paper that I am writing with Tobias Krueger.[1] It argues that in many cases failure to reach the implementation goals of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) is not due to a lack of political will or to technical implementation deficits, but to a fundamental conceptual problem that we characterize as an ontological fallacy built into the Directive: It is founded on a radical conceptual separation of nature from human culture/society that Bruno Latour identified over 25 years ago in terms of “the modern constitution” (Latour 1993). We draw from research in political ecology to develop this argument through a discussion of two of the main concepts by which the WFD is meant to be put into operation; that of “reference conditions”, and the “Driving forces-Pressures-States-Impacts-Responses” (DPSIR) model. Reference conditions, upon which the goal of “good ecological status” for water is specified, are defined broadly as the conditions that would prevail in the absence of human activities, which are regarded as a form of “disturbance” (Bouleau and Pont 2015; Steyaert and Ollivier 2016). The DPSIR model, which is broadly used to identify optimal mitigation measures, construes human activity as inherently destructive of a naturalized environment, upholding that “relations between human practices and environmental degradation are as inescapable as gravity” (Fernandez, Bouleau and Treyer 2014). We build on this critical research by analyzing controversies surrounding efforts to attain good ecological status for rivers in France and England where we have worked previously (Smith et al. 2015; Krueger et al. 2016).  Through examining these cases, we show how failure to achieve the implementation goals of the WFD rests ultimately on the presupposition of radical distinction between people and nature. Our paper is intended to help address what Boeuf and Fritsch (2016) identify as “a conspicuous lack of theory in WFD scholarship” especially as it pertains to implementation of the Directive. We situate our theoretical reflections in the context of debates around what some scholars have identified as an ongoing transformation of the identity of humans from “grand disturbers” to “good managers” (Beau et al. 2019) to develop ideas for European water policy after 2027 that correspond to relational understandings of socionatural processes rather than fixed nature-society dichotomies.


[1] IRI THESys, Humboldt University

08.01.2020
Prof. Dr. Diomar C. Mistro & Prof. Dr. Luiz A. Rodrigues, Universität Santa Maria RS, Brasilien

A discrete model for the impact of sylvatic yellow fever on the howler monkeys (Alouatta guariba clamitans) in Southern Brazil
The sylvatic yellow fever is an endemic infectious disease in the north and center-west and part of the northeast region of Brasil. It affects mosquitoes (Haemagogus) and nonhuman primates such as the howler monkeys (Alouatta guariba clamitans). A recent outbreak of this infectious disease in the São Paulo state was the cause of a great concern to the Brazilian Ministry for Health. The howler monkeys are considered a sentinel for early detection of yellow fever because of their high sensitivity and mortality rate due to this infection.  In this work, cellular automata models are proposed to analyze the dynamics of a population of howler monkeys stricken with periodic outbreaks of yellow fever.

22.01.2020
Michael Sieber
, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plon, Germany

Neutral theory and host-parasite interactions - tackling the complexity of the microbiome with di_erent modelling approaches
All animals and plants, from unicellular protists to blue whales, are inhabited by diverse communities of microbial organisms. Those microbial lodgers constitute a host's microbiome and they can have fundamental roles in host functioning and health. This makes understanding the processes that shape the composition of host-associated microbial communities crucial. I will present insights from two di_erent approaches to study the tremendous complexity of the microbiome. Firstly, the application of a neutral model to microbiome data from di_erent host species highlights the importance of random population dynamics and dispersal for the assembly of host-associated communities. Discrepancies between the neutral model and the data allows for identifying potentially important members of the microbiome, but I will also point out limitations of this approach. Secondly, I will show how a virus can mediate the curious, experimentally observed interaction between two key members of the microbiome of the freshwater polyp Hydra vulgaris. These two examples illustrate how both stochastic population dynamics and more deterministic processes, such as host-parasite interactions, together shape host-associated communities.

 

 

29.01.2020         
Prof. Dr. Mirjam Kretzschmar, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University & Centre for Infectious Disease Control National Institute of Public Health and The Environment (RIVM) Bilthoven, The Netherlands

Emergence and transitions in infectious disease dynamics
Recent outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Ebola in West Africa, Q fever in the Netherlands, Zika Virus in South America, but also the HIV pandemic, SARS, and pandemic influenza have shown that globalized society is at increasing risk of outbreaks of emerging pathogens. Mathematical models of infectious diseases can help us understand how various factors influencing transmission of pathogens interact and what are the key parameters in determining whether or not an outbreak can occur, and how an ongoing outbreak can best be controlled. These models are non-linear systems, which display threshold behavior, with shifts between dynamical regimes when threshold values are crossed.  Complex dynamics can arise depending on the assumptions about transmission incorporated into the model. I will give an introduction to infectious disease modelling with a focus on the types of dynamics that are observed in epidemiological data and mathematical models. I will explain concepts as the basic reproduction number R0, and I will discuss key parameters in infectious diseases that lead to outbreaks, epidemic cycles, and possibly large changes in prevalence with small changes in transmission rates. These dynamics will be discussed in the light of implications for infectious disease control and public health.

 

05.02.2020
Dr. Andreas Focks, University Wageningen - Netherlands

Eco(toxico)logical modeling for the assessment of environmental risks of plant protection products Mathematical and mechanistic modelling is used as a tool in numerous applications in engineering and society. The unambiguous formulation of otherwise vaguely defined ‘mental’ models, the capacity of models for sensitivity and uncertainty  analyses, and the precise nature of model results, make modelling approaches very valuable in situations where systems-level knowledge experiences boundaries when it remains formulated in a non-formal language way. In the field of the risk assessment of pesticides, mathematical models have a long tradition of being used to analyse emissions and fate of chemical molecules in the environment, whereas the mathematical modelling of effects of pesticide compounds on non-target species remained for decades on the level of simple statistical regression models.  In the last years, however, the development and use of mechanistic eco(toxico)logical models in the regulatory environmental risk assessment of pesticides and plant protection products developed rapidly, because regulatory agencies start to discover the advantages of mechanistic modelling. The presentation will start with a short flashlight on the current environmental risk assessment system for pesticides in the EU, to describe then the development of toxicokinetic-toxicodynamic (TKTD) models towards now being the first regulatory accepted mechanistic effect modelling approach. The presentation will then outline nature and properties of additional mechanistic effect modelling approaches, such as population models, to end with drawing a vision of an integrated environmental risk assessment system for pesticides, where fate and effect models are combined within consistent representations of agricultural landscapes. 

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