Course theme

Type of course


Practical Modelling for Marine Biologists

  • 06 - 24 January 2020
  • Groningen University
  • Environmental Life Sciences, Methodology
  • 5.0 ECTS

Mathematical modelling has become an important tool throughout the natural sciences. Especially when the dynamics of natural populations, being molecules within the cell, a population of seals in an estuary, or the global importance of termites are concerned, modelling is an indispensible tool, as it can help in understanding how species interaction can cause unexpected, nonlinear dynamics in ecosystems. When modelling marine systems, this often involves not only biological interactions, but also the physical and chemical environment.

This course aims to teach the topic and the tools involved in the modelling of marine systems. Different from many other courses, it takes a multidisciplinary approach, and introduces the student to the modelling of interactions of the biological components with their abiotic environment. The course moreover focuses on computational (i.e. computer calculations) rather then on mathematical (i.e. symbol manipulation) techniques.

In the course, the following subjects will be treated:

  • Marine resource modelling
  • Modelling ecosystem engineering and positive feedback
  • Spatial modelling: Advection/Diffusion
  • Self organization in estuarine ecosystems
  • Modelling water flow: Navier Stokes & shallow water equations
  • Individual-based modelling
  • Cellular automata: (wave) disturbance modelling
  • Movement & search of marine animals.

The course will consist of three parts. The first part will be a series of lectures that will provide an introduction into the most important topics within marine modelling. Using practical exercises, the student will get acquainted with the basic modelling techniques, and learn how to use the models to answer ecological and environmental problems. In the last 1.5 week of the course, the students will do a modelling assignment where they independently develop (e.g., not provided by the lecturer) a model to answer a scientific question, as group work. At the last day of the course, the students will report on their work in a poster presentation.

Former occurrences of this course

6-24 Jan 2020   |   7-25 Jan 2019   |   26 Febr – 17 March 2018   |   27 Febr – 18 March 2017