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Advanced Field School in Computational Ecology

Play, Model, Integrate

May 19 to 26, 2023 at the Couvent de Val-Morin


The structure and functioning of northern ecosystems remain poorly understood. However, the rapid emergence of new technologies and powerful computational analysis methods offers an unprecedented opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of the functioning of Arctic biodiversity and to model the complexity of these ecosystems.

Set in the natural beauty surrounding the Couvent de Val-Morin, this international Ph.D. school in computational ecology focuses on predator-prey dynamics and analysis methods for complex datasets. Through a novel experiential game-based approach (the “TrophIE game”), participants will be introduced to state-of-the-art methods for monitoring and modelling behaviour and interactions in animal ecology, under the supervision of experienced mentors from various disciplines like biology, ecology, physics, and computer science. The activities of this school will take place within the framework of a real research program, leading to the publication of a scientific article to which the participants will be invited to contribute.

This school is a joint initiative of the Sentinel North program at Université Laval and BIOS2 at Université de Sherbrooke.

This school will be offered in English.


Who is it for?

Approximately 35 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from all disciplines with an interest in wildlife modelling will be recruited.

Fluency in English, an intermediate level of scientific programming knowledge, and some prior experience in data analysis are required.


Submit an application

  • Program overview

    The school promotes an experiential approach, with lectures, discussions, and a significant hands-on component led by experts from several disciplines. It covers the following topics:

    Animal population dynamics, with emphasis on polar species

    Behavioural ecology and predator-prey relationships

    Computer analysis methods

    - Spatial analysis
    - Machine learning (artificial intelligence)
    - Complex systems modelling
    - Behaviour classification through accelerometry (bio-logging)


    The TrophIE game

    During school, participants will be invited to contribute to an original dataset by taking part in simulations of predator-prey interactions in natural environments following various scenarios. At the end of these games, players’ movement and behaviour will be analyzed through an interdisciplinary lens (biology, ecology, physics, computer science, and more) and participants will be invited to contribute to the writing of a collaborative scientific paper.

  • List of experts

    Antoine Allard, Sentinel North Research Chair on the Applications and Theory of Network Analysis and Professor, Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, Université Laval

    Audrey Durand, Professor, Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Université Laval

    Dominique Gravel, Canada Research Chair in Integrative Ecology and Professor, Department of Biology, Université de Sherbrooke

    Daniel Fortin, professeur au Département de biologie, Université Laval

    Akiko Kato, CNRS Research Engineer, Bio-logging Platform, Data Analysis and Modelling

    Pierre Legagneux, Sentinel North Research Chair on the Impact of Animal Migrations on Arctic Ecosystems and Professor, Department of Biology, Université Laval

    Pierre-Olivier Montiglio, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, UQAM

    Yan Ropert-Coudert, Director of Research CNRS – Marine Predators Team, Centre of Biological Studies of Chizé

  • Application

    Those interested in participating in the school must provide the following documents:

    • Completed registration form
    • Résumé (including your education, professional experience, and list of publications and communications)


    Selection process

    The organizing committee will evaluate applications according to the following criteria:

    • Relevance of the applicant’s field of research to the school’s topic
    • Applicant’s research and leadership ability
    • Applicant’s previous experience in scientific programming and data analysis

    In order to provide an interdisciplinary and integrative experience, the selection process will also consider the diversity of applicants’ disciplines and backgrounds. Individuals from all geographic regions, as well as underrepresented minorities, are encouraged to apply.

    Fluency in English and a background in science or mathematics are required. All participants are expected to attend the entire session.

    Individuals will be notified of the final selection by February 20, 2023.

  • Participation fees

    The registration fee for this course is $800.

    This fee includes:

    • Registration for the school, including course credits for ECL807 – Modélisation de la biodiversité (Biodiversity modeling) at the Université de Sherbrooke (3 credits, equivalent to 6 ETCS)
    • Educational and scientific material
    • Accommodation at the Couvent de Val-Morin from May 19 to 26, 2023 (shared rooms)
    • Meals and coffee breaks at the Couvent de Val-Morin during your stay
    • Transportation from Montreal to Val-Morin and back

    The fee does not cover:

    • Travel to Montreal
    • Accommodation and meals in Montreal


    Payment must be received in full on March 24, 2023. Payment details will be provided to the selected applicants.

    Financial support

    Financial support is available to participants in the Sentinel North and BIOS2 programs to cover all or part of the registration and travel costs for this training.

    A limited number of training fee waivers will also be granted on the basis of merit and need.



logo BIOS2 Sentinelle Nord
logo université de sherbrooke sentinelle nord logo IPEV CNRS Sentinelle Nord logo uqam sentinelle nord
Sentinel North - Centre d'études nordiques CEN Logo logo CEF sentinelle Nord


For further information, please contact:


advanced field school in computational ecology sentinel north