Modelling food security : Bridging the gap between the micro and the macro scale
Müller, Birgit ; Hoffmann, Falk ; Heckelei, Thomas ; Müller, Christoph ; Hertel, Thomas W. ; Polhill, J.G. ; Wijk, Mark van; Achterbosch, Thom ; Alexander, Peter ; Brown, Calum ; Kreuer, David ; Ewert, Frank ; Ge, Jiaqi ; Millington, James D.A. ; Seppelt, Ralf ; Verburg, Peter H. ; Webber, Heidi - \ 2020
Global environmental change : human and policy dimensions 63 (2020). - ISSN 0959-3780
Agent-based models - Crop models - Economic equilibrium models - Food security - Land use - Model integration - Multi-scale interactions - Social-ecological feedbacks
Achieving food and nutrition security for all in a changing and globalized world remains a critical challenge of utmost importance. The development of solutions benefits from insights derived from modelling and simulating the complex interactions of the agri-food system, which range from global to household scales and transcend disciplinary boundaries. A wide range of models based on various methodologies (from food trade equilibrium to agent-based) seek to integrate direct and indirect drivers of change in land use, environment and socio-economic conditions at different scales. However, modelling such interaction poses fundamental challenges, especially for representing non-linear dynamics and adaptive behaviours. We identify key pieces of the fragmented landscape of food security modelling, and organize achievements and gaps into different contextual domains of food security (production, trade, and consumption) at different spatial scales. Building on in-depth reflection on three core issues of food security – volatility, technology, and transformation – we identify methodological challenges and promising strategies for advancement. We emphasize particular requirements related to the multifaceted and multiscale nature of food security. They include the explicit representation of transient dynamics to allow for path dependency and irreversible consequences, and of household heterogeneity to incorporate inequality issues. To illustrate ways forward we provide good practice examples using meta-modelling techniques, non-equilibrium approaches and behavioural-based modelling endeavours. We argue that further integration of different model types is required to better account for both multi-level agency and cross-scale feedbacks within the food system.
Sympatric speciation in structureless environments Theories and models
Getz, Wayne M. ; Salter, Richard ; Seidel, Dana Paige ; Hooft, Pim Van - \ 2016
BMC Evolutionary Biology 16 (2016)1. - ISSN 1471-2148
Agent-based models - Disruptive selection - Foraging guilds - Genetic algorithms - Magic traits
Background: Darwin and the architects of the Modern Synthesis found sympatric speciation difficult to explain and suggested it is unlikely to occur. Increasingly, evidence over the past few decades suggest that sympatric speciation can occur under ecological conditions that require at most intraspecific competition for a structured resource. Here we used an individual-based population model with variable foraging strategies to study the evolution of mating behavior among foraging strategy types. Initially, individuals were placed at random on a structureless resource landscape, with subsequent spatial variation induced through foraging activity itself. The fitness of individuals was determined by their biomass at the end of each generational cycle. The model incorporates three diallelic, codominant foraging strategy genes, and one mate-choice or m-trait (i.e. incipient magic trait) gene, where the latter is inactive when random mating is assumed. Results: Under non-random mating, the m-trait gene promotes increasing levels of either disassortative or assortative mating when the frequency of m respectively increases or decreases from 0.5. Our evolutionary simulations demonstrate that, under initial random mating conditions, an activated m-trait gene evolves to promote assortative mating because the system, in trying to fit a multipeak adaptive landscape, causes heterozygous individuals to be less fit than homozygous individuals. Conclusion: Our results extend our theoretical understanding that sympatric speciation can evolve under nicheless or gradientless resource conditions: i.e. the underlying resource is monomorphic and initially spatially homogeneous. Further the simplicity and generality of our model suggests that sympatric speciation may be more likely than previously thought to occur in mobile, sexually-reproducing organisms.