Food Web Analysis - From Sample to Model - 2017 edition

Aim of the course

Introduction into food web analysis using the example of the Wadden Sea Ecosystem. Demonstration of the necessary steps of food web description: sampling and habitat analysis as well as basics of the ecological network analysis will be communicated by explaining and exercising simple modelling.



Wadden Sea Station on Sylt of the Alfred- Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung


Target audience

Advanced students, Bachelor,-Master- and PhD students with ecologically focused program of study. Although the course is focusing on a marine ecosystem, interested students of terrestrial and limnic ecology as well as advanced disciplines are welcome.



The course is a full-time course and participants are accommodated in one of the guest houses of our institute in List at Sylt (18 Euro per day). For details please ask Dr. Harald Asmus.



For registration or further information please contact directly Dr. Harald Asmus.

Unfortunately we have limited space and therefore who will register first will get a place.



The course is on volunteer basis and has no further expenses out of accommodation and meals.

There is one supermarket close to the village and a couple of bakeries where you may buy all what you need. Furthermore the guest house has a fully equipped kitchen with living room where you may prepare your meals.


Course Materials

We ask you to bring your laptop and to install the required software beforehand. This lets speed up the preparation for excises and practices with the computer. Further material and information will be given in due time. 



Tuesday: 19.07.2017


Wednesday: 20.07.201

09:00- 10:00 General introduction into food web analysis

10:00- 10:30 Primary producers of the Wadden Sea

10:30- 11:15 Introduction into the course programme and building of teams (2-3 persons)

11:15- 12:30 Lunch break

12:30- 14:00 Primary producers and incubation of samples

14:00- 15:00 After sample procedures /incubation techniques/biomass sampling/chlorophyll

15:00- 17:00 Practical exercises to measure primary production/end of measurements

17:00- 18:00 Evaluating and presenting results

Thursday: 21.07.2017

09:00- 12:00 Field trip with benthic sampling

12:00- 13:00 Lunch break

13:00- 16:00

16:00- 18:00 Analysing samples (Biomass of macrobenthos), evaluating and presenting results

Friday: 22.07.2017

9:00- 12:00 Ornithological tour into Königshafen /bird predation at certain communities

12:00- 14:00 Lunch break

14:00- 15:30 What kind of data are required to construct a quantitative food web?

15:30- 16:00 The Wadden Sea Ecosystem

16:00- 18:00 Literature and methodology reviews, methods of system analysis and introduction to Ecological Network analysis (ENA), explaining the data base of the food web of the Sylt-Rømø Bight

Saturday: 23.07.2017


Sunday: 24.07.2017

09:00- 12:00 Predators of the Wadden Sea: Excursion on board of RV MYA II

12:00- 13:00 Lunch break

13:00- 15:00 Analysing, evaluating and presenting results from fishing and dredging

15:00- 16:30 Introduction to Ecological Network analysis (ENA), explaining the data base of the food web of the Sylt-Rømø Bight

16:30- 17:00 Input Output Analysis

17:00 – 17:30 Trophic analysis

Monday: 25.07.2017

09:00 - 10:00 Cycle analysis

10:30 - 10:45 Coffee break

10:45- 12:00 Total System Properties

12:00 - 14:00 Lunch

14:00 - 16:00 Introduction into Ecosystem Services (W. Windhorst)

16:00 - 16:30 Coffee Break

16:30 - 18:00: Interactions between ecological functions and Ecosystem Services


Tuesday: 26.07.2017

9:00- 12:00 Food web based indication of Ecosystem services.

12:00- 14:00 Lunch

14:00- 18:00 Practical Exercises with food webs using network analysis with own data and models

Wednesday 27.07.2017

09:00 - 12:00 Continuing Practical exercises with food webs of systems and ecosystem services

12:00 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 18:00 Continuing practical exercises

Thursday 28.07.2017

09:00- 12:00 Discussion of homework: How can we indicate stability of ecosystems?

Departure from 12:00 onward


Harald Asmus

Ragnhild Asmus

Camille de la Vega

Sabine Horn

Wilhelm Windhorst