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Seminar: The Complex Network of Cargo Ship Movements

Seminar: The Complex Network of Cargo Ship Movements

Dr Michael T. Gastner

Junior Research Fellow at Imperial College London

Dr Michael T. Gastner received his PhD in physics from the University of Michigan in 2005. For his thesis work he received the Wirt and Mary Cornwell Prize for having “demonstrated greatest intellectual curiosity, given most promise of original study and creative work”. From 2005 until 2008 he was postdoctoral fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, a multi-disciplinary research centre in New Mexico, USA, devoted to the study of complex systems. In 2009, he was Computational Science Fellow of the Volkswagen Foundation at the Institute for the Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment at the University of Oldenburg, Germany. Currently, he is a Junior Research Fellow at Imperial College London.

Date: 6 July 2012

Time: 3pm – 4pm

Venue: Lecture Room 3, Level 3, Nanyang Executive Centre, Nanyang Technological University

Address: 60 Nanyang View, Singapore 639673


The global network of merchant ships is arguably the world’s most important transport network. Advances in shipping logistics have transformed the world economy in recent decades. It is estimated that nowadays 90% of world trade is hauled by cargo ships. As a side effect, cargo ships also exchange up to ten billion tons of ballast water, and with it potentially harmful bio-invasive species, around the globe. I will present how the world-wide network of ship routes can be inferred from the recorded itineraries of more than 16,000 cargo ships. I will highlight the main properties of the network and discuss consequences for economics, traffic modelling and forecasts of ship-mediated marine bio-invasion.