Undergraduate courses

Quantitative Wildlife Ecology - Many ecological, management, and conservation needs for animal populations are related to assessing questions related to “how many, how much, where, and when”. The goal of this course is to provide students with the motivation and training to assess these questions as commonly encountered by natural resource professionals. Upon completing this course, students will be able to formulate hypotheses related to individuals, populations or communities of animals, design studies to test these hypotheses, and analyze actual data sets from different field settings, and present scientific findings following the guidelines for scientific report writing. I teach this class every spring semester.

Introduction to Wildlife Population Ecology - How does the human population size changes over time? What are the temporal patterns of influenza in the USA? What are the drivers of boom and bust pest cycles? What will be the predicted outcome of various management strategies? How much can we fish without compromising future fish stocks? The answers to these questions belong to the field of population ecology—the study of how population size varies in space and time. Once we understand the patterns and mechanisms behind this temporal variation in abundance we can ultimately explain and predict species distributions. In this course, ystudents get introduced to the fundamental concepts of population ecology. Because populations are complex and difficult to quantify we will use an array of models to fulfill this goal. I teach this class every fall semester.

Computational problem solving in wildlife ecology using R - Quantitative methods are useful to explain and predict wildlife pat- terns and processes. The application of data science methods is becoming more prevalent in our field and understanding how to solve problems using computational methods is a fundamental skill. In this class, you will learn the basic aspects of R programming and visualization. These skills will be useful by themselves and also as a foundation for other courses in our Department.

Graduate courses

Quantitative Analysis of Wildlife Populations: The patterns that give rise to observed ecological phenomena have their roots in complex inter-connected processes at multiple levels of organization. Quantitative methods are useful to explain and predict these processes due to their ability to synthesize complex processes with a small number of parameters and assumptions. Moreover, most theoretical and applied questions in wildlife ecology and conservation are answered quantifying abundances, or parameters such as survival, occupancy, probability of colonization or extinction, breeding probability, movements, disease state etc. In this course, students will learn the theory and application of quantitative methods to estimate these quantities and quantify related uncertainty. In the first five weeks of class, we will “review” the basics of modeling in wildlife ecology and conservation. The idea is to build a strong foundation before we go into the details of various methods later in the semester including occupancy, abundance and survival estimation. Although we will be exploring mathematical concepts, we will make a strong effort to present the topics in a welcoming environment where students can learn and inquire at their own pace.

Occupandy Modeling: Occupancy models are becoming popular in wildlife ecology and conservation. In this one-credit seminar, we will discuss the 15 “classic” papers on occupancy modeling. Starting with the basic single-season model all the way to more complex models at the community level. Although the course will not be applied, it will be a good opportunity to dig deep into the conceptual and statistical background behind these really cool models! I teach this course sporadically. Stay tuned for the next time.

The professional scientist: the other things we need to know: You finished graduate school and it is your first day on the job. Graduate school prepared you to be the best scientist that you can be. Still, less than an hour in your new job you will realize that as a professional scientist you will need to maste ra wide variety of skills that are not necessarily taught in graduate school. These include things like time management, budgeting, and project management skills. We also need leadership, mentoring, and communication skills. In other words, there are “other things we need to know”. The objective of this class to introduce the students to these topics,increase your curiosity and encourage you to be mindful that these complementary skillsare also key to be a successful professional scientist. I teach this class sporadically. Stay tuned for the next time.