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300117 VO+UE Introduction to ecological modelling (2021S)

5.00 ECTS (3.00 SWS), SPL 30 - Biologie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 12 participants
Language: English



The preliminary meeting for this course will take place on 4th March 2021 at 2 pm online. The link for this meeting will be sent out to all registered participants.


Aims, contents and method of the course

The course will provide an introduction into ecological modelling. We will present and discuss common ecological modelling concepts, ranging from classical population dynamics models and biogeochemical models to spatially explicit and individual-based models, and the modelling of emergent system behaviour. Our focus will be how ecological theory can be translated into models, and how models can be used to get a better understanding of the behaviour and dynamics of ecological systems.

The course will be held in a blocked form between 7th and 21st May 2021. The first five days (7th- 14th May) will consist of a mixture of lectures and practical exercises (full days) to become familiar with common modelling concepts and techniques. The second week will be used for individual group work. Students will work together in small groups (2-3) to address a chosen research question using the tool box of ecological modelling, with course instructors being available for guidance and support. Results of this group work will be presented and discussed in a final seminar day.

We will use R and netlogo. A crash-course into basic programming techniques will be given at an extra day before the course starts.

The course will be held online.

Assessment and permitted materials

Participants will work on a chosen topic independently in small groups of 2-3 persons by building a model to adress a specific research question. You are required to hand in model code and documentation, write a brief report, and give an oral presentation on your results.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Basic knowledge of R is of advantage - we recommend to have taken at least one introductory R course beforehand. Programming skills would be helpful, but are not required (a ‘crash course’ on basic programming technique will be included in the course). You need to attend at least 80% of the lectures and practical exercises. The grade will be based on active participation during the course (20%) and the group modelling project (80%).

Examination topics

Oral presentation of the group modelling project, model code, documentation and brief report. Active participation throughout the course.

Reading list

Association in the course directory

MEC-6, MEC-9, M-WZB, MZO W-9

Last modified: We 05.05.2021 15:49