Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-ix

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

Any new approach to science has to go through its infancy: like a child learning to walk, the first steps of a new approach are exploratory, insecure, and not directed by a clear idea of where the steps might lead—yet these steps are watched with great interest and excitement. Individual-based ecological modeling has been in its infancy for the past two decades. The rapidly growing...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

This book is in many ways the product of three organizations that have fostered the development of individual-based modeling. First is Volker Grimm’s home organization, the Department of Ecological Modelling (ÖSA) at the UFZ Center for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, headed by ChristianWissel, the...

Part 1. Modeling

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1. Introduction

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pp. 3-21

Modeling attempts to capture the essence of a system well enough to address specific questions about the system. If the systems we deal with in ecology are populations, communities, and ecosystems, then why should ecological models be based on individuals? One obvious reason is that individuals are the building...

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2. A Primer to Modeling

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pp. 22-37

Individual-based modeling is, above all, modeling. If we want to make individual-based modeling effective and coherent, we must understand what modeling really is and how it works. Therefore, in this chapter we introduce general guidelines for developing models, referring readers to other authors...

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3. Pattern-oriented Modeling

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pp. 38-50

Models of complex systems should be neither too simple nor too complex if they are to be useful. Complexity in a model causes many difficulties, yet models that are too simple cannot explain much. To find the right level of complexity, we rely on the principle of parsimony, or “Occam’s razor”: if we have two...

Part 2. Individual-Based Ecology

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4. Theory in Individual-based Ecology

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pp. 53-70

In chapter 1 we identified the complexity of IBMs as a major challenge to their efficient and coherent use. Therefore, in chapters 2 and 3 we presented general modeling guidelines and pattern-oriented modeling as ways to help modelers end up in the “Medawar zone” of complexity that provides a high payoff...

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5. A Conceptual Framework for Designing Individual-based Models

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pp. 71-121

The modeling guidelines of chapters 2 and 3 and the process of theory development described in chapter 4 address the strategic level of individual-based modeling: they provide efficient strategies for designing IBMs to address specific problems and for developing theory of how individual traits determine...

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6. Examples

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pp. 122-244

In the preceding chapters we deal with concepts and strategies for developing IBMs and conducting IBE, but now it is time to look at some IBMs in action. So many IBMs have been developed in recent years that we were easily able to assemble a mosaic of case studies that illustrate our ideas of how IBE is done and...

Part 3. The Engine Room

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7. Formulating Individual-based Models

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pp. 247-269

This chapter begins our descent into the “engine room” of individual-based modeling. According to the statement by biomathematician E. C. Zeeman, part 2 of this book focused on the creative phases of individual-based ecology: approaches for reproducing and explaining ecosystem complexity using relatively...

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8. Software for Individual-based Models

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pp. 270-311

This is by far the most difficult chapter in the book, certainly for the authors and probably also for the readers. Developing the software for an IBM is a major step, yet this topic easily takes on a negative tone. For an unfortunate number of early IBMs, the modeling cycle was not propelled forward by the...

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9. Analyzing Individual-based Models

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pp. 312-348

Analyzing a computer model means studying the model, once it executes, to understand and improve its performance and then to solve the problems the model was designed to explain. One consequence of IBMs being less simple than classical models is that IBMs are not as easy to understand and learn from...

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10. Communicating Individual-based Models and Research

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pp. 349-362

As we progress through the cycle of building and analyzing an IBM, we finally feel like we have learned important things that need to be communicated to the “clients” of our research: the scientific community, our sponsors, the agencies that manage the ecosystems we study. Along the way we discover many...

Part 4. Conclusions and Outlook

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11. Using Analytical Models in Individual-based Ecology

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pp. 365-379

This book is about individual-based modeling and how it can be used, within the framework of individual-based ecology, to address ecological problems. Of course, other modeling approaches are widely used in ecology. In particular, analytical models that use mathematical formulations are the backbone of classical...

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12. Conclusions and Outlook for Individual-based Ecology

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pp. 380-390

In the preface and chapter 1 we explained why we wrote this book: to establish an effective and coherent framework for using individual-based modeling, a new approach to ecology that we refer to as individual-based ecology (IBE). The strategic elements of IBE include fundamentals of good modeling...

Glossary

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pp. 391-394

References

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pp. 395-420

Index

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pp. 421-428