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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Daniel Grunbaum
OCEAN 539
Seattle Campus

Seminar in Biological Oceanography

Lectures, discussions, and work on selected problems of current interest. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This course will introduce oceanographers and ecologists to the mathematical concepts and modeling methods most central to posing and answering quantitative questions about biological processes in marine environments. The course will will consist of lectures, literature readings and computer lab exercises that familiarize students with theoretical background and modeling software (Matlab, Maple, FreeMat, FiPy) relevant to population dynamics, population structure, physical biology and other subject areas tailored to the interests of class participants.

Student learning goals

Students will gain familiarity with the mathematical concepts and modeling approaches most relevant to conceiving and executing their own models, and to understanding and critically assessing models from the literature.

Students will enhance their abilities to interpret biological phenomena in dynamic, mechanistic terms.

General method of instruction

This course uses a combination of closely integrated lectures, discussions, computer laboratories and problem sets, parsed into units that address specific biological themes and demonstrate key mathematical concepts and modeling techniques.

Recommended preparation

This course is open to graduate students, and advanced undergraduates with the permission of the instructor.

Prerequisites: Calculus. Prior programming experience or mathematical training beyond calculus is not required. Determination and a high level of interactivity with the instructor and with other students will be expected.

Class assignments and grading

Assigned work will consist primarily of weekly problem sets based on the computer labs and/or mathematical methods presented in lectures. In addition, there will be reading assignments from the primary literature and reference materials.

Grades will be based largely weekly problem sets. Participation in discussions and other class activities will also be emphasized.


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Daniel Grunbaum
Date: 03/11/2010