Symposium > Keynote speakers


Benjamin Martin

Keynote title: "Linking individual energetics and population dynamics with DEB-IBM"

Assistant professor at University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


My research addresses questions at the interface of organismal biology and ecology. In ecological systems, much like in physical systems, macroscopic dynamics emerge from large numbers of interacting units. The challenge for ecologists is that unlike molecules, living organisms grow, reproduce, and interact with each other in diverse and complex ways. The central theme of my research is to make this complexity tractable by searching for general rules that govern these processes at the organismal level and develop mathematical models to explore their ecological implications. To do this, I focus on identifying general rules and constraints for how organisms take in, process, and use two fundamental currencies in ecological systems: energy and information.




Cheryl Murphy

Keynote title: "The complexity of mixture toxicity and multiple stressors: how incorporating suborganismal processes into dynamic energy budgets can provide a path forward"

Professor, director of the Michigan State University Center for PFAS Research, East Lansing, MI, United States.


Before arriving at MSU, Dr. Murphy held a postdoctoral position at the University of Toronto, Canada, in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Dr. Murphy earned her PhD from Louisiana State University (2006) from the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences (minor in Experimental Statistics), a MSc from the University of Alberta, Canada (1998) in Cell Biology and Physiology, and a BSc from Dalhousie University, Canada (1993) with Honours in Marine Biology. Dr. Murphy is a professor in MSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. She is also an affiliate for the Institute for Integrative Toxicology, Center for Water Sciences, the Environmental Science and Public Policy program and the Ecology, Evolutionary and Behavior Program.
Dr. Murphy is well-versed in various subjects such as reproductive physiology, behavior, ecology, toxicology, and modeling, and can provide links between the different disciplines. Her overall goal is to bridge laboratory work with field sampling and modeling to address issues in environmental toxicology.




Sabrina E. Russo

Keynote title: "Applying the Dynamic Energy Budget Approach to Models of Plant Resource Allocation"

Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, USA


Sabrina E. Russo is a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and Center for Plant Science Innovation at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, USA. She received a B.A. in Biology from Harvard University, USA, and completed her PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. Her PhD research examined the link between the behaviors and traits of seed dispersal agents and the consequences for seed dispersal and seedling survival for a neotropical nutmeg tree in the Amazon. As a field ecologist, her PhD research provided her first foray into modeling in which she developed a simulation model of how properties of primate seed dispersers and trees shape the seed shadow. Dr. Russo completed two postdoctoral fellowships: one with Dr. Stuart J. Davies at the Harvard University Herbaria, USA, and one with Dr. David A. Coomes at Cambridge University, UK. A unifying theme of Dr. Russo’s research is that understanding tree species’ life histories in terms of underlying functional variation, resource-allocation trade-offs, and plant-biotic interactions provides insight into the distribution of plant species along resource gradients, which ultimately determines ecological patterns of diversity. With Glenn Ledder and Roger Nisbet, Dr. Russo co-led a working group at the US National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis to apply Dynamic Energy Budget modeling principles to develop a mechanistic whole-tree model of tree growth and survival. Dr. Russo teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in plant biology, plants in human medicine, ecology, and community ecology.




Michael R. Kearney

Keynote title: "What is the status of metabolic theory one century after Pütter invented the von Bertalanffy growth curve?"

Professor at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.


Mike is a physiological ecologist in the School of BioSciences at The University of Melbourne. His research is focused on ways to connect what we can measure about an organism’s basic survival skills and capabilities with what we can measure about their environments and how they change though space and time. From a theoretical point of view, this has led him to work in the fields of microclimate modelling, biophysical ecology and metabolic theory. He also has interests in the evolution of parthenogenetic organisms, palaeo-environments, life history and biogeography. Taxonomically his expertise is with reptiles and grasshoppers but he enjoys studying all kinds of organisms, including plants.

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