After completing the course, you should be able to handle research and management models for environmental, ecological and water issues in internships and jobs, at a basic MSc-level, in particular|
1. systematically analyse issues (day 1, 8)
2. critically select model types and orderly follow modelling phases (day 1, 4-7)
3. thoroughly understand and dominant equations and modules (day 2, 4-7)
4. easily estimate of parameter values from overarching principles (day 3, 4-5)
If we prepare an outdoor trip, we check the weather forecast, as projected by meteorological models. Political parties submit their programs for calculation of the expected economic benefits. Mathematical models now also have become indispensable in environmental and ecological sciences. At the BSc level you obtained most information from standard text books. At the MSc level however, you are expected be able to deal with many loose, incomplete and contradictory data. In addition to statistical tools taught in other parts of the curriculum, in this course you will learn to develop and interpret mathematical models, needed for abstract thinking, quantitative assessments and projections of the future.
With the information acquired in this course, graduates should be able to work as:
- researchers that develop models for scientific questions
- consultants that apply models for practical issues
- managers that base their decisions on uncertain model output
The course starts with an introduction, discussing the relevance, types and stages of modelling. You will be made familiar with a few equations often applied in ecology and environmental science. These equations are the building blocks of models that you build yourself in the second part of the course.
Starting with pre-cooked exercises, you will gradually learn to build your own model for a given system, going through different the stages of model development (design, implementation, sensitivity analysis etc.). We will address different environmental problems, including eutrophication and chemical pollution (food chain accumulation).
The assignments are linked to "hot" ecological concepts, such as "allometric size scaling" and "alternative stable states". Guest-lectures demonstrate how models are used in different settings, ranging from fundamental research to consultancy. Your progress is monitored by the products (answers on questions, models built) handed in during and after assignments.
The course concludes with an exam testing knowledge and skills acquired during all sessions.
- Computer practicals
BSc Biology, Chemistry, Moleculair Sciences, Natural Sciences, Informatics. The course is obligatory for some specialisations of the MSc Biology.|
This course requires basic mathematical handling skills (including simple differentiation and integration routines) as prerequisites at the level taught in the BSc Biology and secondary school. In addition, basic use of Excel is required.
If you doubt about your background, please, consult your BSc of secondary school books on these topics and/or familiarise yourself with Excel using its help function.
The course is graded with an open book exam, counts for 100%.|
To be eligible to sit the exam, assignments need to be carried out and uploaded every day during the course.
|The relevance of the course is explained in the Preface and Section 1.1 of the book. With the background acquired in this course graduates should be able to work as:
researchers that develop models for scientific questions
consultants that apply models for practical issues
managers that base their decisions on model output and its uncertainty|