Individual variation is not only a building block for evolution, but it can also profoundly affect ecological responses: the average performance of all individuals in a population is typically different from the performance of a population of average individuals. In ecology, identifying life-history strategies is traditionally done by quantifying differences among individuals in observed traits (age, sex, size). Furthermore, comparative analyses have shown that there is a slow-fast continuum of life-history strategies across species. However, we may have only scratched the surface, as there is more to individual variation than meets the eye. Currently, we still have a limited understanding of how much unobserved heterogeneity occurs in populations, which patterns they exhibit, whether environmental variability affects these patterns, and thereby what their ecological implications are. Excitingly, recently important analytical advances have been made to quantify unobserved heterogeneity in demographic rates and how different demographic rates covary within a population. An outstanding question that remains to be answered is how diverse life-history strategies exists within species in general. To answer this, we will jointly analyse longitudinal data of a large set of species located along the slow-fast continuum. Accounting for both observed and unobserved individual heterogeneity using a common methodological framework we aim to unravel systematic new patterns of life-histories within species that will transform or complement the current paradigm of life-histories.
Monday 3 February 2020
During the first day, we will organize lectures to introduce what is known about the effect of individual heterogeneity on life-history traits, along with tutorial and discussion sessions to introduce the tools to analyze individual heterogeneity.
10:00 – 10:15 Introduction to the Lorentz center by representative of the Lorentz Center
10:15 – 10:45 Organizers will introduce briefly the motivation and the goals of the workshop
10:45 – 11:45 LECTURE: Emmanuelle Cam will provide a synthesis of the terminology of individual heterogeneity, and tools to address it - 35 minutes lecture + 25 minutes of discussion
11:45 – 12:30 Stéphanie Jenouvrier will report on the common approach defined during the preliminary workshop in Norway - 30 minutes lecture + 15 minutes of discussion
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch@Snellius cafeteria with possibility for informal discussion
13:30 – 15:30 Hands-on tutorial session: Matthieu Authier and Sandra Hamel will introduce briefly the software JAGS and code to estimate individual heterogeneity. We will check data format
15:30 – 16:15 Coffee break with possibility for informal discussion
16:15 – 17:00 feedback and discussion of the hands-on - moderated by one junior and one more senior researcher
17:00 Wine & Cheese party in the common room