I work as Assistant Professor on statistical ecology, dividing my time between teaching applied statistics to ecology and earth science students and research into the analyis of the movement and distribution of organisms in their natural environment.
In my research I currently focus on developing and applying statistical and measurement theory for the analysis of animal movement and distribution through three three projects:
Furthermore, I have a continuing interest in enhance reproducibility in the natural sciences though standardization and calibration of observation techniques as well as better storage, documentation and curation of observations and computer code.
A while ago we created an agent-based model in Matlab, which can be used to investigate soaring bird migration. The model design and an example of it's application is described in: E.E. van Loon, J. Shamoun-Baranes, W. Bouten & S.L. Davis (2011). Understanding soaring bird migration through interactions and decisions at the individual level. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 270 (1), 112-126.
Boris Jansen and I developed a model to reconstruct past vegetation on the basis of biomarker data. The model is conceptually fairly simple, but performed well in the studies where it was applied so far. The model is coded in Matlab, and described in:
B. Jansen, E.E. van Loon, H. Hooghiemstra & J.M. Verstraten (2010). Improved reconstruction of palaeo-environments through unravelling of preserved vegetation biomarker patterns. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 285 (1-2), 119-130.
Mapcurves is a goodness-of-fit measure to compare two
categorical maps by Hargrove et al. 2006. Niels Raes and I have
applied it in a study to floristic regions in Borneo. For this
study we coded the Mapcurves algorithm in Matlab and R.
Our Mapcurves implementation contains a Matlab function (which includes a demo option), an R function and a separate (R) demo script. The Matlab and R functions do exactly the same, but differ slightly with respect to the way in which the output is formatted. For background info about Mapcurves, see William W. Hargrove, Forrest M. Hoffman and Paul F. Hessburg (2006) Mapcurves: a quantitativemethod for comparing categorical maps. J Geograph Syst, 8, 187-208. DOI 10.1007/s10109-006-0025-x.
Michael Kemp, a former PhD student in our CGE-group, has created a fantastic R package to process NCEP/NCAR reanalysis (weather) data for use in our bird migration models.
We did describe the package in: Kemp M.U., E.E. van Loon, J. Shamoun-Baranes, W. Bouten (2011) RNCEP: global weather and climate data at your fingertips. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2011.00138.x
For anyone using weather data in ecological models, the RNCEP package may contain very useful functions.
I lecture in the BSc and MSc programs of the earth and biological sciences, beta-gamma and future planet studies (see the link below for an overview). These courses cover statistics and research methods in the natural sciences. In addition, I supervise MSc students during their thesis work. If you are interested in statistical or methodological issues, especially when these relate to biogeography or spatio-temporal dynamics, you may consider to conduct an MSc thesis under my supervision.