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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Trevor Branch
FISH 458
Seattle Campus

Modeling and Estimation in Conservation and Resource Management

Explores the use of models in the evaluation of alternative management polices for natural resources, including modeling approaches, fitting models to data, and evaluating alternative management polices. Emphasizes calculating risk of extinction, and design of biological reserves. Recommended: either Q SCI 454 or FISH 454. Offered: jointly with Q SCI 458; Sp.

Class description

This course explores how to use models to evaluate different management policies for natural resources. The three major topics are (1) modelling approaches, (2) fitting models to data and (3) evaluating alternative management policies. From 2013, emphasis is placed on programming in R. The course covers age-structured methods, spatial dynamics, optimal management, conservation biology, and other topics.

Student learning goals

Fitting likelihood based models to data to estimate extinction risk.

Estimating maximum sustainable yield in fisheries populations.

Modeling the effects on catches of implementing marine protected areas.

Rapidly prototyping and implementing models for conservation and policy.

Learning how to use advanced Excel functions: Solver, Table, etc.

Teaching the basics of programming ecological models in R.

General method of instruction

The course will consist of three 50 minute lectures and one 2 hour computer laboratory each week. No required textbook but "The Ecological Detective" by Hilborn and Walters is the most relevant background text.

Recommended preparation

Recommended FISH/QSCI 454. Highly recommended to have taken FISH 552 and FISH 553 or to have programmed in R. The class is an advanced undergraduate / graduate class aimed at QSCI minors, undergraduates with a quantitative bent, and graduate students. No required textbooks but these two are extremely useful for the class: Matloff "The art of R programming" and Hilborn and Mangel "The ecological detective".

Class assignments and grading

Homework problems will be assigned for completion over one or two weeks.

15% Mid-term I 15% Mid-term II 20% Lab exam 50% Homework


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Course website
Last Update by Trevor Branch
Date: 07/19/2013