Detailed information about the course

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Fribourg E&E Days 2020: Critical transitions, early-warning signals, and coexistence theory


24-25 August 2020


Dr Rudolf P. Rohr, UNIFR

Prof. Louis-Félix Bersier, UNIFR



Dr Sonia Kéfi, CNRS, France

Dr Vasilis Dakos, CNRS, France

Prof. Serguei Saavedra, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

Dr Rudolf P. Rohr, Department of Biology, University of Fribourg



This workshop aims at exposing the most recent developments in two major topics in ecology: critical transitions and early-warning signals, and coexistence theory. This 2 days workshop will bring together leading researchers of these domains. Lectures will be given in the morning, and the afternoon will be devoted to examples and exercises.


Topic 1: Critical transitions and early-warning signals


Critical transitions arise when systems undergo an abrupt transition in their state. Often, the recovery of the system to its previous state cannot be achieved without intense efforts. A classical example of such a transition is the eutrophication of shallow lakes. Despite the complexity of the underlying dynamics, such regime shifts are preceded by generic early warning signals. 


The lecture will give an overview of critical transition theory before introducing early warning signals as a tool to detect abrupt regime shifts. The students will have the opportunity to apply these tools on examples.


Topic 2: Coexistence theory


Coexistence theory aims at studying conditions that species have to meet in a community to persist through time. Historically, coexistence theory has been developed within the framework of two species competing for common resources, which resulted in the classical measures of niche difference and fitness ratio. Recently, this framework has been extended to species-rich communities, the so-called structural stability approach.


The lecture will give an overview of the classical measure and the structural measure of coexistence. It will also introduce the new field of structural forecasting. The students will have the opportunity to train these tools on examples.



Detailed program will be prepared soon!



University of Fribourg, Chemin du Musée 10, 1700 Fribourg


0.5 ECTS


Full attendance and active participation





Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 August 2020




University of Fribourg

Chemin du Musée, 10




Marta Bellone






PhD students of the DPEE are eligible for reimbursement of incurred travel expenses by train (half-fare card, and 2nd class). Please send the original tickets along with the reimbursement form to:


 Marta Bellone 

 Doctoral Program in Ecology and Evolution

 University of Fribourg

 Chemin du Musée, 10

 CH-1700 Fribourg


NO reimbursement of your meal expenses

Regarding reimbursement of accommodation, please contact the coordinator of the doctoral program (ecologie-evolution(at) BEFORE the beginning of the course. NO reimbursement of accommodation without the coordinator of the doctoral program agreement prior of the course.



Register via your MyCUSO account!


Registration Fees: 


Free for participants enrolled in the CUSO Ecology & Evolution doctoral program.


In case of cancellations, before the deadline: free

Late cancellations or no-show: Administrative fee of 50 CHF will be demanded


Other participants: please contact the program coordinator at ecologie-evolution(at)




Deadline for registration 08.08.2020
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