2022 INTP Autumn School: Syntheses in Theoretical Community Ecology


The 1st INTP Autumn School “Syntheses in Theoretical Community Ecology” will take place from October 3 to 8, 2022 in Ariège, in the French Pyrenees. Its target is an interdisciplinary audience of graduate and post-doctoral students with prior experience in community ecology and modelling.

All details are available here: 2022 INTP Autumn School.

MSH-T-Projet Glomec-webinar "science facing environmental and sanitary crisis"


On may 10, the INTP was invited to attend the MSH-T-Projet Glomec-webinar in Toulouse. The professor Dirk Schmeller from Toulouse University has prestented the results of the Glomec project and discussed the impact of the loss of biodiversity on human health, with the example of the French Pyrénées.


Atecopol books event


INTP members were present at the meeting with the Atecopol (Atelier d'Ecologie Politique) about the release of their first two books, Greenwashing and Débrancher la 5G. A very interesting discussion around political ecology issues at the Librairie Floury in Toulouse !

Journal Club: Axial Age


We will read and discuss the following article:

Mullins DA, Hoyer D, Collins C, et al. A Systematic Assessment of “Axial Age” Proposals Using Global Comparative Historical Evidence. American Sociological Review. 2018;83(3):596-626.


This article is an attempt to be somewhat rigorous about the idea that many civilizations underwent a major ideological and organizational transformation sometime around 500 BC. It relies on the Seshat database, systematizing information about the historical trajectory of various civilizations.

I will give a short summary of this article, then we can discuss the idea of big transitions and comparative evidence in history.

Presentation: Download here

School Biodiversity project (Lisle-sur-Tarn)


The INTP was kindly invited by the association Iti Ke Na Zonza to co-organize a school mediation project in Lisle-sur-Tarn ! For nearly two hours, we have discussed with a group of wonderful kids the importance of reforestation, biodiversity and the differences between the wilflide in Congo and in Occitany.

Annual INTP Meeting 2022

31/3 - 4/4/2022

The first Annual INTP Meeting took place from March 31 to April 4, 2022.

Most INTP members converged in the flesh for four days of work, science and mountaineering, while Yuval Zelnik and Nuria Galiana joined us virtually from Sweden and Spain.

Topics included:

- General updates on the state and future of the INTP
- Planning the upcoming 2022 Autumn School in Theoretical Ecology
- Nuria Galiana presented work on network macroecology
- Sebastien Ibanez led a debate on the concept of fitness

Antoine Sugita's end of residency concert


Antoine Sugita, pianist, stayed at INTP for five months for an artistic residency. We organized a private end-of-residency concert to celebrate the release of his new album "Facettes" and his future collaborative musical projects.

Journal Club: Bear Rituals


We will hold a journal club on Friday March 11th at 6pm. We will discuss the bear killing ritual of the Ainu (indigenous people of northern Japan and Kamchatka), which is an interesting example of debate regarding what is the aim of ethnology, what is a ritual, and what is a bear.

For those who would want an introduction, I suggest reading at least the first 3 pages of Kimura's "Bearing the bare facts of ritual".

And if you want to go deeper, you can read the famous paper it critiques, JZ Smith's "The bare facts of ritual" .

Presentation: Download here

Visit of Pr. Naphtali Meshel (HUJI)


We were honoured and pleased to welcome Naphtali Meshel, philologist and professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI), for a second residency at the Institute.

Prof. Meshel studies Comparative Religion and the Hebrew Bible, and collaborates with Matthieu Barbier to develop a new and ancient science of ritual (Project "Thinking Rite").

His presence also gave us the opportunity to organize a journal club on "Ainu Bear Rituals", and to enjoy the beauty of the Pyrenees !

Visit of Prof. Naphtali Meshel (HUJI)


Naphtali Meshel, philologist and professor in Bible and Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI), visited the INTP for a writing residency and collaboration in the context of the project Thinking Rite.

Prof. Meshel's research interests include Biblical and Vedic rituals, and ancient models for the “science of ritual”. He presented his work on the grammar of sacrifice and upcoming project on the system of ritual purity and pollution in ancient Israelite texts.

Working group: Ecology & Physics


Four young researchers in ecology and physics from Catalunya (Barcelona and Mallorca) visited for an interdisciplinary working group in collaboration with INTP researchers.

Guim Aguadé discussed an upcoming project on multistability in complex ecological networks. Victor Maull presented his PhD project on invasions in ecological communities. Jordi Pineiro presented his theoretical developments on neutral theory. Elvira Mayol presented her ongoing PhD work on spatial patterns in seagrasses.

Azenor Bideault defended her PhD!


Azenor Bideault defended her PhD on the 30th of November. She was supervised by Dominique Gravel from the Integrative Ecology Lab of the University of Sherbrooke in Québec and Michel Loreau from the Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling of the CNRS Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station in Moulis, France.

In her thesis, she explores how species and their trophic interactions are affected by temperature at different 1) spatial scales from local to global, 2) timescales from ecological to evolutionary and 3) organizational levels from populations to communities. She uses theoretical and empirical approaches to tackle those questions.

Due to the COVID pandemic, she did her last two years of PhD remotely and stayed at the INTP, benefitting from its stimulating environment. She is now a doctor and an official member of the INTP, Congratulations !!



The research group on the theory and modeling of biodiversity (THEOMODIVE) had its annual meeting from November 14 to 22.

The meeting was organized by A Sentis (INRA, RECOVER) and JC Poggiale (MIO, EMBIO) in Aix-en-provence.

The meeting was organized in seven sessions by themes (among others, diversity-stability - BEF relationships, eco-evolutionary dynamics, links between data and theory, or spatial ecology), with a focus on discussions within and between these sessions.

From the four INTP members that were present, Matthieu and Jean-François presented some of their work, respectively on "Ideas to connect and discriminate simple models of complex ecosystems" and "A Boolean approach to functional redundancy".



Nuria Galiana and Azenor Bideault presented their work at the V Symposium on Ecological Networks at the Universitat de les Illes Balears in the island of Mallorca (Balearic Islands).

Nuria Galiana gave a presentation on "The spatial scaling of ecological networks across the globe" and Azenor Bideault on "Latitudinal variation and warming impacts in fish food web dynamics".

Visit of Prof. Mathew Leibold (U Florida)


Mathew Leibold is Professor of Biology in the University of Florida.
Prof. Leibold is both an experimental and theoretical ecologist, who has worked on trophic dynamics and developped the ecological concept of metacommunity.

He visited the INTP from October 18-22, working with Matthieu Barbier on the inference of species interactions from spatial co-occurrence data. He presented this ongoing work and its broader context to INTP members.

Visit of Dr Sonia Kéfi (CNRS)


Sonia Kéfi visited the INTP from July 17-24. She is a researcher in ecology at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in the Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution de Montpellier, associated with the University of Montpellier, and is also affiliated as an external professor with the Santa Fe Institute.

Sonia Kéfi studies ecosystem complexity and dynamics. She adresses questions related to the resilience of ecological systems to global changes using a combination of models and data analysis. She won the 2011 Martinus van Marum Prize of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen (Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities), the CNRS Bronze Medal in 2017, and the Erdős–Rényi Prize of the Network Science Society in 2020.

She visited INTP as part of a collaboration on a study on regime shifts and multi-stability in ecological networks. Her visit also provided an opportunity to discuss about the work of a PhD student staying at INTP on the effect of temperature on trophic dynamics and the role of self-regulation.

Benjamin Girardot defended his PhD!


Benjamin Girardot (https://girardotb.github.io/) defended his PhD on June, 7 in Marseille, where he conducted his research about the analysis of disturbances on the structure and dynamic of food webs (http://www.theses.fr/2021AIXM0228).

Benjamin was based in the Mediteranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO), and his thesis was supervised by JC Poggiale, M Gauduchon and F Ménard, all three affiliated to the same institute.


Usually, the relationships between, on the one hand, the fragility of food webs and their structure, and on the other hand, the generative processes responsible for these structures, are treated separately. We develop in this thesis an eco-evolutionary assembly model that allows usto study these two relationships in a unified framework. For each of these relationships, three levels of organization are considered: the network, the network motif (*i.e.* the triplets of species in the network), and the species. We study the role of the evolutionary history of communities in the emergence of these structures, as well as their fragility. We first highlight a key role of evolutionary environmental richness on the emerging structures of food webs and their associated fragilities. We also show that this environmental richness of evolution plays an important role in the type of controls ("bottom-up" *vs*"top-down") present in the communities. Particularly fragile network substructures are then highlighted; substructures that, in combination with other species-level indicators, can be used to strengthen predictions about the fragility of these species. Finally, we study the emergence of the characteristic distribution of these substructures, or network motifs: although common patterns are observed, for example inthe order of appearance, or "fixation", of some of these motifs, we show that the speed of emergence seems to depend on abiotic conditionsof evolution.

Visit of Simon Carbonnelle


Simon Carbonnelle visited us from March 3-17. He is a PhD student in Artificial Intelligence at the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Electronics and Applied Mathematics (ICTM) at the Catholic University of Louvain.

He came to INTP as a volunteer, and gave a presentation on intraclass clustering and generalization in deep neural networks.

A season of tenure


In December '20 and March '21, two INTP members have ascended to the ivory halls of permanent academia. For better and for worse, the general confusion surrounding human-virus interactions has prevented the wider world from taking full notice.

Still, we hope that it is with pride and modesty that Jean-François Arnoldi (CNRS) and Matthieu Barbier (CIRAD) will be welcomed by their newfound institutional homes. May they perambulate sagely in their crystal minarets, draped in resplendent white togas, while contemplating the parsimonious use of public money.

Thankfully, they also remain thoroughly devoted to the cause of the INTP, and so you will still see either of them here, occasionally writing news about themselves in the third person.

Breaking grounds


While the world holds its breath for mostly-unrelated reasons, the INTP has started to coalesce from the aether as a vehicle for truth, community, and their byproducts.

Our first yearly general assembly was held online, and we had the pleasure of inducting Kirsten Henderson as our first Research Associate. She will collaborate with the INTP on projects mixing fundamental science and local farming practices.

In other news, some amount of ground has been broken for the establishment of our physical campus in the Pyrenees, the Escòla in Surba, Ariège, and we are hoping for an official opening in Summer 2021, worldwide pandemic and construction delays permitting. A few pioneers are currently ekeing out a living on the premises, scraping through the mud for bare roots as their only source of nourishment, yet proud to slouch where few humans have walked before.

Fête de la Science at the Muséum de Toulouse


[Event in French - événement en Français]

On Sunday October 4th 2020, at 11:30 and 15:00, Matthieu Barbier will be talking about how different cultures construct their relationships with nonhumans:


This presentation will be heavily inspired from P. Descola's "Beyond Nature and Culture", and the work of Latour, Sahlins, Bird-David and other anthropologists and philosophers.

Course: Numerical methods

14/3 - 30/6/2019

We will be holding weekly classes between March and June at our current host institution (CNRS Moulis).

We plan for these classes to cover some or all of the following topics:

  • How to fit data points to a (non linear) curve?
  • How to find an equilibrium?
  • How does PCA (Principal Component Analysis) work?
  • What is Bayesian inference and when to use it?
  • How to do a robust sensitivity analysis?
  • How to model population dynamics?
  • When is individual based modeling useful?
  • How to model spatial processes?
  • What are the effects of noise and how to model it?

As we prepare materials, they will be uploaded on this site.



Welcome, fellows from all quadrants. We are now open as far as the wider web is concerned.