EEB 401 - Advanced Topics in Biology
Section: 001
Term: WN 2008
Subject: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB)
Department: LSA Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
BS
Consent:
With permission of instructor.
Cost:
<50
Advisory Prerequisites:
Intended for senior concentrators. The prerequisites will be set by the instructor as appropriate for each section.
BS:
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
Repeatability:
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

Ecologists are frequently taught statistical recipes that can be used to analyze data, e.g., correlation, regression, analysis of variance. These classical methods have been designed with analytical tractability foremost in mind. The assumptions on which they depend are such that they typically afford only an oblique perspective on the specific ecological questions we wish to answer. This is a pity, since hard-won data are effectively squandered when we can ask only crude questions of them.

Advances in computational power over the last decades have brought more complex statistical procedures within the realm of the possible such that it is now possible to design statistical tests that directly answer the ecological questions we ask. This is evident from the fact that the ecological literature now abounds with references to likelihood, Bayesian inference, and information-based model selection. In this course, students will have the opportunity to apply these approaches to questions they themselves find interesting. We will study a number of examples in which we have to (1) refine scientific questions into statistical questions by means of mathematical models and (2) put these models to the test by bringing them into risky contact with data.

Course work will consist of readings from several texts (see below) and from the primary literature, a number of computer labs, and a project. It is hoped that advanced graduate students will take this opportunity to view their data in new ways through the use of models.

Texts: Bolker (preprint), "Ecological Models and Data in R." Hilborn and Mangel (1997), "The Ecological Detective." Turchin (2003), "Complex Population Dynamics." Burnham and Anderson (2002), "Model Selection and Multimodel Inference," 2nd. ed.

Prerequisites:

  • a burning scientific question
  • willingness to engage with others in thinking about ecological questions
  • willingness to think and talk about the philosophy of science
  • some numerical or statistical computing experience
  • calculus
  • permission of the instructor

EEB 401 - Advanced Topics in Biology
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
P
21290
Open
7
 
-
Tu 2:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: INTERROGATING DATA WITH MODELS.
002 (LEC)
P
28528
Open
3
 
-
MWF 9:00AM - 10:00AM
Note: CASE STUDIES IN LIMNOLOGY - FRESHWATER ECOLOGY.
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
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