Introduction to Population Modeling


Target Audience:

Biologists seeking to gain beginner level population modeling skills to inform decision-making in areas such as species status assessment, recovery, and management.

Summary and Objectives:

This online course is based on Dr. Anthony Starfield's Principles of Modeling for Conservation Planning and Analysis. Participants will learn about the modeling process, how to think like a modeler, and how to interpret model results. Participants will develop practical skills on building and communicating about models. The class covers a variety of modeling techniques applicable to resource management and conservation issues. Session topics include Introduction to Modeling and Spreadsheets (e.g. context, sensitivity analysis, assumption analysis, and mechanics), Rapid Prototyping and Heuristics, Deterministic and Stochasitc Population Modeling, and Age-Structured Population Models with Management Applications. You will develop hands-on experience with building spreadsheet models to illustrate the values, limitations, and appropriate applications of models. This course is the first half of CSP3156 Modeling Principles for Natural Resources Management and is intended to serve as a pre-requisite for CSP2314 Modeling for Endangered Species Management and CSP2308 Fish Population Dynamics and Assessment. This course defers from Modeling Principles for Natural Resources Management because of its two-week online format, emphasis on population modeling for beginners and is aimed towards biologists in Ecological Services.

Course Structure:

This is a two-week online course with daily assignments and live virtual discussions. Each day participants are expected to watch pre-recorded lectures, complete spreadsheet exercises and come prepared for live virtual discussions. Expect to devote 4 - 6 hours each day on the course.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the modeling process and terminology.
  • Build deterministic and stochastic models of populations with age and stage structure structure
    Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

    Learn more about structure
  • Understand the application of population models, model limitations and assumptions.
  • Interpret and defend model results used to ascertain the status of species and determine relevant conservation measures.

Competency Addressed:

Ecology - Intermediate, Modeling and Simulation - Introductory, Wildlife and Fisheries Biology Management - Intermediate, Conservation Biology - Intermediate

Course Short Name
Course Type
Training Tuition Cost
36.0 hours
Training Credit Hours
Semester Hours

Questions and Registration

Course Contact


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