J. D. Yeakel bio photo

J. D. Yeakel

Associate professor at UC-Merced;
Former Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute

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Ecological Dynamics (Fall, 2019)


  • Class time/location: MW 3:00-4:15 in CLSSRM 110

Readings for the course will be provided below. However, if you are new to theoretical biology, the following resources may prove helpful. The following code identifies the level at which the book is aimed: (B: Beginner; I: Intermediate; A: Advanced). These are must-have resources if you plan to do a lot of theory!

  • A Primer of Ecology: Nicholas J. Gotelli (B)
  • Mathematical Biology I,II: J.D. Murray (I/A)
  • Theoretical Biologists Toolbox: Marc Mangel (B/I)
  • Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos: Steven Strogatz (B/I)
  • Quantitative Conservation Biology: W.F. Morris, D.F. Doak (B/I)
  • The Ecological Detective: Marc Mangel (B/I)
  • The Art of Modeling Dynamic Systems: F. Morrison (I)

About the final project
The final project will feature a problem that you investigate using tools from the course, but related to your own research. The gold standard would be something that can add to your thesis, or serve as a publishable side project down the road. The idea will be to articulate an interesting question in your domain of expertise, find a way to investigate that question using tools from the course, and exploring the implications, etc. At the end of the course, you will give a formal presentation to the class in the form of a professional meeting talk (15-20 min) that gives us background, explanation of methods, and results. I’m available during office hours if you want to chat about ideas, techniques, etc.
Due Wednesday, October 16: A paragraph describing what you want to do, and the possible methods that you might use to investigate the problem




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