European Ecological Forecasting Initiative

Upcoming Activities:

  1. EEFI Chapter Community Call on 25 October at 1pm CET – join the EEFI community to learn about the strategic plan for upcoming activities and opportunities for ecological forecasting in Europe
    • Register to join the call HERE
  2. EEFI is hosting monthly seminars.
    • The 11 October 2023 seminar is by Dr. Vicky Boult (University of Reading) on “Forecast-based action for conservation: Developing early-warnings of human-elephant conflict”. Register Here
    • The recording for the September seminar by Dr. Harry Watkins (St Andrews Botanic Garden) on “Plants on the move: using a botanic garden to forecast habitat assembly dynamics under climate change” is available below.
  3. EFI 2024 Conference to be held at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki on 11-13 June 2024.

Overview: The European Ecological Forecasting Initiative (EEFI) is a regional chapter of the Ecological Forecasting Initiative. EEFI is a community of individuals spanning academia, government, NGOs and industry with the shared aim of developing and applying ecological forecasts to develop ecological theory and tools and inform decision-making to mitigate the impacts of environmental change.

Find information about Upcoming Events and Previous Events for the European ecological forecasting community below.

EEFI is a focal point for activities and issues relevant to ecological forecasting in Europe. We host and facilitate a range of events to further build the European ecological forecasting network and its activities. Knowledge exchange amongst this network will help to address some of the outstanding challenges for applied ecological forecasting, including issues around data availability, dealing with uncertainty, and engaging user groups.  Sign-up below to be added to a listserv to receive announcements about activities.
EEFI is a regional chapter of the Ecological Forecasting Initiative. For more resources or information on wider events, visit

EFI has a Slack group and the EEFI has a #european-chapter channel. Slack is a great way to stay up to date with EEFI events, communicate within the group and across EFI, and find information about forecasting-related papers, funding, etc. Email to be added to the EFI Slack group and the #european-chapter channel.

Upcoming Events: Future Monthly EEFI seminars (virtual)

Invited speakers will cover a range of relevant topics in the EEFI monthly seminar series. Join the seminars to learn about innovative ecological forecasting approaches led by the European community. Email to get in touch if you have something you would like to share.

Below is the schedule of calls for 2023.
All seminars will take place on the second Wednesday of each month at 1pm CET.
Titles and abstracts will be provided ahead of time, but you can register to join the calls now so they are on your calendar.

11 October: Vicky Boult (University of Reading), “Forecast-based action for conservation: Developing early-warnings of human-elephant conflict”
Register Here

Abstract: Climate change and associated extreme weather events are threatening biodiversity, but existing conservation strategies have limitations. Advances in meteorological forecasting and innovation from the humanitarian sector provide a possible solution – forecast-based action (FbA). FbA provides a framework by which ecological and meteorological forecasts may be routinely translated into early conservation action, improving preparedness and minimising the impacts of extreme weather on biodiversity. Here, I will draw on learnings from the humanitarian sector to suggest how FbA might be applied in practice, specifically, to mitigate the impacts of human-elephant conflict in Kenya. 

Bio: Dr. Vicky Boult is a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, UK. She has a background in ecology and conservation, and during her PhD, developed agent-based models to project the likely impacts of environmental change on elephant populations. Since completing her PhD, Vicky has moved into meteorology where she is particularly interested in the application of sub-seasonal and seasonal forecasts to improve drought risk management in the African humanitarian, agricultural and conservation sectors. Vicky’s research is highly interdisciplinary and user-focused, and she works closely with partners to develop research agendas, build capacity and transfer technology.

Future Scheduled Calls for 2023

  1. 8 November: Speaker TBD, Registration Link
  2. 13 December: Speakres TBD, Registration Link

Previous Monthly Seminars and Links to Recordings

  1. September 2023: Harry Watkins (St Andrews Botanic Garden). Plants on the move: using a botanic garden to forecast habitat assembly dynamics under climate change
  2. June 2023: Cara Gallagher (University of Potsdam). Modelling energetics & behavior: Insights from mammalian swimmers, flyers, and runners
  3. May 2023: Jelena Pantel (University of Duisburg-Essen). Predictions from models for biodiversity at the phenotypic, population, and community level
  4. March 2023: Owen Petchey (University of Zurich). Understanding and predicting the stability of ecological systems
  5. February 2023: Gerbrand Koren (Utrecht University). Terrestrial carbon cycling across a range of temporal scales
  6. December 2022: Damaris Zurell (University of Potsdam). Forecasting species range dynamics under global change
  7. November 2022: Emily Simmonds (NTNU). A journey to more robust predictions of population responses to environmental change

Previous Event Details

September 2023 Monthly Seminar – Harry Watkins (St Andrews Botanic Garden).
Title: Plants on the move: using a botanic garden to forecast habitat assembly dynamics under climate change
Abstract: Dr. Watkins is the Director of St Andrews Botanic Garden with a research interest in plant biogeography and ecophysiology, and Senior Lecturer in the Bartlett School of Architecture, and where he teaches on the BioID module. Large areas of St Andrews Botanic Garden are being reconfigured to become a network of grassland habitats that can be used as models for habitats that are found in coastal temperate locations around the world, and which can be manipulated to test near-term iterative forecasts. The talk shares the ideas and research agenda behind these projects. Dr. Watkins is keen to develop opportunities for partnerships and using the botanic garden to test or generate hypotheses and research questions. You can find the Biodiversity Plan Dr. Watkins references in the recording HERE.

June 2023 Monthly Seminar – Cara Gallagher (University of Potsdsam).
Title: Modelling energetics & behavior: Insights from mammalian swimmers, flyers, and runners
Abstract: Climate change and habitat degradation are major drivers of decline in ecological systems. A comprehensive understanding of the impacts of these drivers on population dynamics is essential for the development of effective conservation strategies. In this seminar, Cara presented her research on agent-based energy budget and movement models focusing on diverse mammalian species inhabiting marine, terrestrial, and aerial environments. Cara presented the application of these models to predict the impacts of environmental change on three distinct populations, and explore the potential conservation implications of our findings. Additionally, Cara emphasized the significance of confronting models with empirical data and delve into the use of pattern-oriented modeling techniques to capture the intricate connections between energy expenditure, movement patterns, and environmental factors.

May 2023 Monthly Seminar – Jelena Pantel (University of Duisburg-Essen).
Title: Predictions from models for biodiversity at the phenotypic, population, and community level
Abstract: Predictions for future states of biodiversity can be complicated by the numerous factors that impact natural populations and communities. I take an approach of fitting data to theoretical models In this talk, I will share results from two main projects. I will discuss using metapopulation theory to understand and predict how freshwater snail assemblages on the island of Guadeloupe will change over time. I will also discuss using species interaction models combined with quantitative trait evolution models to identify the impacts of phenotypic evolution for species coexistence.

March 2023 Monthly Seminar – Owen Petchey (University of Zurich).
Title: Understanding and predicting the stability of ecological systems
Abstract: Owen Petchey talked about the general subject of understanding and predicting stability. He covered topics including how we might quantify elements of biodiversity that can predict community stability, how and why we might conceive of a measure of overall ecosystem stability, and how biodiversity can influence when catastrophic shifts in ecosystem occur.

February 2023 Monthly Seminar – Gerbrand Koren (Utrecht University).
Title: Terrestrial Carbon Cycling Across a Range of Temporal Scales
Abstract: Gerbrand Koren provided an overview of his research into carbon cycling between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems. In particular, there was a focus on quantifying the exchange of carbon during drought events in tropical and temperate regions, and on assessing carbon exchange across a range of time scales (hourly to yearly). Finally, Gerbrand reported on two outputs from the Ecological Forecasting Initiative (EFI), including (1) a perspective paper that highlights the role that forecasting can play in the development of ecological theory and (2) community standards that were developed specifically for the field of ecological forecasting that aim to support syntheses across multiple forecasts.

December 2022 Monthly Seminar – Damaris Zurell (University of Potsdam).
Title: Forecasting species range dynamics under global change
Abstract: Researchers called for more process-based models in biodiversity science and global change ecology for decades, yet progress has been slow due to data and technical challenges. Damaris will present recent advances in spatially explicit, individual-based modelling platforms for predicting biodiversity dynamics. By comparing these developments to the success story of static distribution models, Damaris derives key recommendations for facilitating wider usage in decision support and conservation.

November 2022 Monthly Seminar – Emily Simmonds (NTNU).
Title: A journey to more robust predictions of population responses to environmental change
Abstract: Predicting population responses to environmental changes is a pressing challenge. I will discuss how including phenological synchrony, phenotypic plasticity, and evolution in population models can expose potential thresholds, which can drive rapid population collapse. Creating these complex models can give new insight into biological responses but it can come at the cost of reporting the full range of uncertainties associated with our work. We can improve the transparency of predictions of population change through more consistent propagation of model-related uncertainties. I will give a picture of the state-of-the-art regarding reporting of the uncertainty associated with population projections and finish with my plans for exploring the consequences of incomplete uncertainty propagation.   

On 12 October 2022 EEFI officially launched! Here is the recording from that call which provided an opportunity for the European community to meet each other, get an overview of the European Chapter and upcoming events, and participate in a brainstorming session for community interests and priorities.

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