Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Jacob Nabe-Nielsen

Senior Researcher

During the past six years I have been in charge of developing and managing a research programme (DEPONS) aimed at evaluating how harbour porpoise populations are affected by noise from construction of offshore wind farms. This has included development of an agent-based / individual-based simulation model, coordination of fieldwork, data analyses and scientific reporting. The management relevance of the programme is ensured through dialogue with the authorities in the different countries around the North Sea.

In parallel with my research on population dynamics I have worked on vegetation ecology in Greenland, including field work in Nuuk, northeast Greenland and Southern Greenland. The aim of this research is to further our understanding of the processes that determine how the vegetation and the Arctic ecosystems respond to climate changes.

Concurrently with this work I have been head of Section for Marine Mammal Research at Aarhus University. This involves a close dialogue with authorities regarding our monitoring and management of seals and harbour porpoises, coordination of strategic research initiatives and general management. During the last six years I have been responsible for supervision of six PhD students.

Curriculum Vitae

My research is focused on understanding the importance of spatial and temporal environmental variability on communities and populations. The key question I aim to address is how the anthropogenic impacts, such as disturbances of individual animals or changed landscape heterogeneity associated with climate changes, influence the persistence of species. The harbour porpoise is an example of a species that is influenced by anthropogenic disturbances, and much of my research has focused on how the Danish porpoise populations are influenced by noise from offshore constructions. I use a wide range of modelling tools to assess the relative importance of different sources of environmental variation, including individual-based/agent based models, spatial statistics, and classical population models. This involves development of computer programs in R and NetLogo. In addition to my own research I currently supervise three PhD students and participate in the management of Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University.


2000  PhD of tropical ecology from Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Aarhus.
1998  MSc of biology (Honours). Key topics: population ecology, plant geography and courses at Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Aarhus.
1993BSc in pollination ecology. Pollination ecology in Himalaya.




2013 ··

Head of Section for Marine Mammal Research, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University.

2010 ·· 

Senior Scientist, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University. Research of the effects of spatiotemporal environmental variation on animal behaviour and population dynamics.

2006 ·· 2009

Research Scientist, National Environment Research Institute (NERI), Aarhus University. Research of the importance of landscape complexity and heterogeneity for the dynamics of plant and animal populations using individual-based simulation models through the CIPE project. 
2005 ·· 2006  Project Researcher, Danish Institute of Fisheries Research. Development and evaluation of bio-economic fisheries management models and research on gear selection and biological parameters using international fisheries databases. employment
2004 ·· 2004  Amanuensis, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University. Development of e-learning course on Guatemalan biogeography and land use.
2001 ·· 2004Postdoc, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University. ‘La Chonta Timber Tree Regeneration Project'. Modelling tree seed dispersal and analyses of tree regeneration in order to improve timber tree management.
2001 ·· 2004  Amanuensis, University of Aarhus. Development and teaching of the PhD-course ‘Design and Analysis of Experiments' on applied statistics and design of biological experiments.