Mathematical Models in Ecology and Evolution

Faculteit Science and Engineering
Jaar 2019/20
Vakcode MLBIE08C
Vaknaam Mathematical Models in Ecology and Evolution
Niveau(s) master
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester II a (16-03-2020 till 27-06-2020)

Uitgebreide vaknaam Mathematical Models in Ecology and Evolution
Leerdoelen At the end of the course, the student is able to:
1.translate between verbal or written descriptions of biological systems and the corresponding mathematical models of the biological systems.
2.critically assess the simplifying assumptions implicit in mathematical models of biological systems.
3.analyze the dynamical and stability properties of mathematical models of biological systems, using a combination of pencil and paper and computer modelling software.
4.translate mathematical properties of models into relevant biological conclusions and how the conclusions are affected by specific model assumptions.
Omschrijving Mathematical models have become an indispensable tool in ecology and evolutionary biology, to the point that aspiring scientists in these fields must have a working knowledge of basic mathematical modeling techniques. This course teaches such techniques practically from scratch, without requiring much background knowledge except elementary high school algebra and a little calculus. If successful, it will allow the students to understand papers that contain models, to develop new models to explore their own ideas, and to generate and use models for analysis and interpretation of data.

Students are required to study one book chapter per week on their own and to do several exercises for hands-on experience. Some exercises are of the pencil-and-paper variety, but others require the help of the computer-aided mathematical tools such as Maple, Mathematica or R, which the student will learn how to use during the course. One afternoon per week, participants meet with a teacher for demonstration and discussion. The meetings usually start with a discussion of the chapter content where difficulties will be explained on the blackboard or with computer + beamer. For each of the suggested book-exercises, one of the participants is appointed as “volunteer” to demonstrate her or his solutions in the classroom, followed by discussion. Depending on the students’ background knowledge, sometimes during these meetings a “remedial” lecture of one or two hours is given about particular mathematical (e.g. linear algebra) or technical (e.g. Mathematica) subjects.
Uren per week
Onderwijsvorm Werkcollege (T)
(Discussion meetings: 40 hours, self study: 128 hours)
Toetsvorm Schriftelijk tentamen (WE)
(The written exam (open book) consists of several models which have to be analyzed in steps, resulting in 6-8 sub-problems that have to be solved. For each sub-problem a maximal number of points can be achieved, summing to 90 points. 10 points are added and the sum is divided by 10 to calculate the final grade.)
Vaksoort master
Coördinator prof. dr. I.R. Pen
Docent(en) prof. dr. I.R. Pen ,dr. G.S. van Doorn ,prof. dr. F.J. Weissing
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
A Biologist's Guide to Mathematical Modelling in Ecology and Evolution . Princeton University Press. Otto, S. & Day, T. 978-0-691-12344-8. ca. €  45,00
Entreevoorwaarden The course unit assumes some prior mathematical knowledge acquired from the first-year bachelor course “Inleiding in de biomathematica en biostatistiek” (WLP10B12 ) or similar.
Opmerkingen Location: Centre for Life Sciences, Zernikecampus, Groningen
Opgenomen in
Opleiding Jaar Periode Type
MSc Biology: Modelling in the Life Sciences  (Electives/Optional modules) - semester II a keuze
MSc Biology: Research  (Compulsory master courses) - semester II a keuze
MSc Biology: Science, Business and Policy  (Compulsory master courses) - semester II a keuze
MSc Biomolecular Sciences  (Electives/Optional modules) - semester II a keuze
MSc Courses for Exchange Students: Biology - semester II a verplicht
MSc Ecology and Evolution: Ecology and Conservation  (Electives/optional modules) - semester II a keuze
MSc Ecology and Evolution: Evolutionary Biology  (Electives/optional modules) - semester II a keuze
MSc Marine Biology: Research  (Compulsory master courses) - semester II a keuze