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Ecological Modeling: A Common-Sense Approach to Theory and Practice

ISBN: 978-1-4051-6168-8
176 pages
December 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Ecological Modeling: A Common-Sense Approach to Theory and Practice (140516168X) cover image
Ecological Modeling:A Commonsense Approach to Theory and Practice explores how simulation modeling and its new ecological applications can offer solutions to complex natural resource management problems. This is a practical guide for students, teachers, and professional ecologists.
  • Examines four phases of the modeling process: conceptual model formulation, quantitative model specification, model evaluation, and model use
  • Provides useful building blocks for constructing systems simulation models
  • Includes a format for reporting the development and use of simulation models
  • Offers an integrated systems perspective for students, faculty, and professionals
  • Features helpful insights from the author, gained over 30 years of university teaching

"I can strongly recommend the book as textbook for all courses in population dynamic modeling particularly when the course is planned for the second or third year of a bachelor study in ecology, environmental science or ecological engineering. It uncovers very clearly for the readers the scientific idea and thinking behind modeling and all the necessary steps in the development of models."
Ecological Modeling Journal, 2009

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Preface.

Acknowledgments.

1 Introduction.

1.1 Common Sense Solutions: Three Exercises.

1.2 Modeling Theory.

1.3 Modeling Practice.

1.4 Theory, Practice, and Common Sense.

1.5 Intended Use of this Book.

2 Common Sense Solutions.

2.1 Three Problems.

2.2 The Systems Approach to Problem Solving.

2.3 The Three Problems Revisited: The Systems Approach.

3 Theory I: The Conceptual Model.

3.1 State the Model Objectives (Ia).

3.2 Bound the System-of-Interest (Ib).

3.3 Categorize the Components within the System-of-Interest (Ic).

3.4 Identify the Relationships among the Components That Are of Interest (Id).

3.5 Represent the Conceptual Model (Ie).

3.6 Describe the Expected Patterns of Model Behavior (If).

4 Theory II: The Quantitative Model.

4.1 Select the General Quantitative Structure for the Model (IIa).

4.2 Choose the Basic Time Unit for the Simulations (IIb).

4.3 Identify the Functional Forms of the Model Equations (IIc).

4.4 Estimate the Parameters of the Model Equations (IId).

4.5 Execute the Baseline Simulation (IIe).

5 Theory III: Model Evaluation.

5.1 Assess the Reasonableness of the Model Structure and the Interpretability of Functional Relationships within the Model (IIIa).

5.2 Evaluate the Correspondence between Model Behavior and the Expected Patterns of Model Behavior (IIIb).

5.3 Examine the Correspondence between Model Projections and the Data from the Real System (IIIc).

5.4 Determine the Sensitivity of Model Projections to Changes in the Values of Important Parameters (IIId).

6 Theory IV: Model Application.

6.1 Develop and Execute the Experimental Design for the Simulations (IVa).

6.2 Analyze and Interpret the Simulation Results (IVb).

6.3 Communicate the Simulation Results (IVc).

7 Some Common Pitfalls.

7.1 Phase I: Pitfalls: The Conceptual Model.

7.2 Phase II Pitfalls: The Quantitative Model.

7.3 Phase III Pitfalls: Model Evaluation.

7.4 Phase IV Pitfalls: Model Application.

8 The Modeling Process In Practice.

8.1 The Preliminary Conceptual Model (CM).

8.2 The Intermediate Developmental Models (IDMi).

8.3 The Final Model (FM).

8.4 The Three Problems Revisited.

9 Reflections.

9.1 The Systems Approach as a Complement to other Methods of Problem Solving.

9.2 Ecological Modeling as a Problem-Solving Process.

9.3 Expectations for Ecological Models.

9.4 A Final Thought.

References.

Appendix A: Introduction To The Ecological Modeling Literature.

Appendix B: Scientific Reports For The Three Examples.

B.1: Effect of Deforestation on Rate of Food Harvest.

B.2: Effect of Hurricane Frequency on Probability of Population Extinction.

B.3: Effect of Stocking Rate on Forage and Animal Production.

Index
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Bill Grant has taught ecological modeling in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences (WFSC) at Texas A&M University since 1976, has served on the Board of Governors and as President of the International Society for Ecological Modeling, and has been Associate Editor of the international journal Ecological Modelling since 1997.

Todd Swannack also has taught ecological modeling in WFSC at Texas A&M University, and has been modeling the population dynamics of endangered species since 2002.

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  • Examines four phases of the modeling process: conceptual model formulation, quantitative model specification, model evaluation, and model use

  • Provides useful building blocks for constructing systems simulation models

  • Includes a format for reporting the development and use of simulation models

  • Offers an integrated systems perspective for students, faculty, and professionals

  • Features helpful insights from the author, gained over 30 years of university teaching
See More
"In addition, it has the advantage that it is draws heavily on the knowledge of one of the world's most experienced ecological modellers, Bill Grant, a former President of the International Society for Ecological Modeling, and an editor of the journal Ecological Modelling." (Biodivers Conserv, 2011)

Grant and Swannack are to be commended for their attempt to strip ecological modelling of its complexities and present the bare bones for beginners.... I found the book to be very well written, clear and inclusive of all basic theory for deterministic ecological modelling. The book is admirably concise, which will appeal to many." (Austral Ecology, May 2009)

"This is an excellent textbook in population dynamic modeling. The very core of the system approach and system thinking is explained very clearly and in a way that encourages the readers to go modeling." (Ecological Modelling, January 2009)

"This book is valuable for its listing of 39 common pitfalls of model development; the 60 citations dividing into four categories of models that can serve as the starting point for most ecological modeling approaches; and the fractal beauty of it all." (CHOICE, January 2009)

"A key feature of the book is the use of case studies which are based on straightforward ecological questions with a practical interest." (Environmental Conservation, September 2008)

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