Author Archives: ryanchisholm

Martin Trappe joins the lab

Martin Trappe has joined the lab as a new Senior Post-doctoral Research Fellow. Martin is a physicist with a background in quantum mechanics and density functional theory. He has worked as a post-doc for the last several years in the Centre for Quantum Technologies at NUS and will continue a 50% appointment there. In our lab, Martin will be working on mathematical models of environmental variance under our Singapore–Israel research grant and looking at applying some theoretical physics techniques to many-body problems in ecology. Welcome, Martin!

Nadav Shnerb visits the lab

Last week Prof. Nadav Shnerb from Bar-Ilan University in Israel visited the lab. This visit was part of a collaboration between our two labs under a recently awarded Singapore–Israel research grant. The purpose of the grant is to allow us to unify and further develop models of ecological community dynamics that incorporate temporal environmental variance. Our two labs have been working independently on these models for the past several years. During Shnerb’s visit last week, we spent many stimulating hours working through mathematics on the whiteboard and engaging in vigorous conceptual discussions. We look forward to a reciprocal visit in the coming year or two.

Tak attends the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting in New Orleans, USA

Tak attended the Annual Ecological Society of America (ESA) Meeting, held in New Orleans from 5th to 10th August. This is one of the biggest conferences in the field of Ecology, with thousands of attendants.

During the conference, Tak presented new work from our lab on the spatial scaling of relationships between species richness and productivity. The work involves using a neutral community model to make quantitative predictions on how these relationships change with increasing spatial scale. These predictions form a baseline against which to compare results from more complex models. Tak obtained valuable feedback during and after his presentation.

The conference was also a good opportunity for Tak to meet up with colleagues and collaborators. These included Nadav Shnerb from Bar-Ilan University, who is collaborating with us on the effects of temporal environmental variation on patterns of biodiversity in plant communities.


Tak attends the Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Biology in Sydney, Australia

Tak attended The Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Biology & the Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology, which was held from 9 to 12 July at the University of Sydney, Australia (

After acclimatising to the austral winter, Tak presented new work by the Chisholm Lab that uses mathematical models to explain the shape of species–area relationships on islands, and obtained valuable feedback. He also re-united with researchers he had met in previous years, as well as engaging with other researchers: there were interesting conversations on hot topics in theoretical ecology and mathematical biology in general. Furthermore, Tak attended many talks and poster presentations, where he absorbed fresh ideas that could serve as inspiration for his own work.


Sydney University


Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation annual meeting in Kuching, Malaysia

The annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation came to our part of the world this year: it was held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia from 1 to 5 July. Lahiru, Catharina and Ryan attended. Lahiru presented his recently published work on estimating emissions from peatlands. Catharina presented her ongoing work about altitudinal shifts of frogs on Mount Kinabalu. Ryan presented our recently published work on fragmented species–area relationships. The conference was a great success with 800 attendees from around the world, ample networking opportunities and, in particular, fascinating keynote lectures.