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BS5260 - Modelling Ecological Dynamics

Credit points: 3
Year: 2022
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: College of Science and Engineering

Available to postgraduate science and Bachelor of Advanced Science students.

This subject provides an introduction to the formulation, analysis, application, and critical evaluation of ecological models. Lectures examine how models connect particular ideas about how ecological systems work to fundamental concepts in ecological theory, and on critically evaluating how analyses of model ecological systems can inform our understanding of real ecological systems. Practicals emphasize applying ecological models to solve problems in biodiversity conservation and management. Topics covered include population dynamics and extinction risk; ecological stability and resilience; fisheries modelling; dispersal, connectivity, and marine reserves; species interactions; biodiversity; and trophic dynamics. This subject is appropriate for empirically-oriented students seeking a better understanding of the relevance of ecological modelling for their field and laboratory research, as well as for students interested in postgraduate work in ecological modelling.

Learning Outcomes

  • analyse ecological models, in order to determine how fundamental concepts in ecological theory arise from particular sets of assumptions about how ecological systems work;
  • critically evaluate the robustness of ecological concepts to the simplifying assumptions from which they have been derived;
  • critically evaluate how the formulation and analysis of model ecological systems informs our understanding of real ecological systems in nature;
  • formulate ecological models, by integrating information about ecological processes that occur on multiple scales;
  • apply the techniques of ecological modelling to solve problems in conservation and management.

Subject Assessment

  • Written > Examination (centrally administered) - (30%) - Individual
  • Written > Test/Quiz 1 - (15%) - Individual
  • Oral > Presentation 1 - (15%) - Individual
  • Written > Lab/Practical report - (40%) - Individual.
Students enrolling in this subject should have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, or should be currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Advanced Science, having completed at least one undergraduate ecology subject. Some university-level mathematics is recommended, but not essential.
MB3260, MB3269, MB5260


Townsville, Study Period 1, Internal
Census Date 24-Mar-2022
Workload expectations:

The student workload for this 3 credit point subject is approximately 130 hours.

  • 24 hours lectures (didactic or interactive)
  • 3 hours tutorials
  • 30 hours practicals
  • assessment and self-directed study

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.