WIS 6934 Ecological Dynamics and Forecasting

Instructors Dr. Morgan Ernest Dr. Ethan White
Office Location Building 150, Room 2 Building 150, Room 1
Phone 352-294-2082 352-294-2084
Email (preferred) skmorgane@ufl.edu ethanwhite@ufl.edu
Office Hours    


Times and Locations

Tuesday, Period 5 (11:45-12:35), MCCB 2102

Thursday, Period 5 (11:45-12:35), MCCB 2102

Course Objectives

The goal of this class is to provide students a basic understanding of how populations and communities change through time and to provide fundamental concepts of how to forecast those changes. By the end of the semester, students will:

1) Have an appreciation of the dynamics of species and communities.

2) Understand the basic concepts of forecasting that apply across fields and the challenges within ecology

3) Have a basic understanding of working with time series data

General Course Structure and Expectations

This course is a mixture class discussion of primary literature and hands-on experience involving some class activities. Completing assigned readings, intellectual engagement with topics, and discussion participation are the main ways students will learn in this class. Tuesdays are typically concept discussion days. Thursdays will be a mix of tools or concept discussion. You are expected to come prepared to discuss the assigned papers.

Course Grading

80% of grade will be based on class participation, which includes leading one discussion during the semester 20% will be based on completeion of class activities

Attendance Policy

Two days can be missed without impacts on your grade without the need to submit make-up work, though we recommend that students attempt any missed class activities on their own time because additional class activities or discussions may rely on that knowledge.

Up to 4 additional missed days can be made-up by submitting make-up work. Class activities can be made-up on the student’s time within a week by doing the activity and submitting the code/data for instruvtor evaluation. Missed discussions can be made up by providing a written summary of the readings for the day(s) missed. Written summaries will involve 1-paragraph summary of the main questions and findings for each assigned paper and 1 paragraph applying the paper to how we think about either ecological dynamics or forecasting.

If a student anticpates missing more than 6 class days (i.e. 3 weeks of classes), you must talk to the instructors beforehand.

Course Materials

1) The free online text book Forecasting: Principles and Practice will be used for some class activities, but is not required

2) All reading materials will be made available through the course website.

3) Laptops: On class activity days, laptops will be required for class.

UF Policies

University Policy on Accommodating Students with Disabilities

Students requesting accommodation for disabilities must first register with the Dean of Students Office (http://www.dso.ufl.edu/drc/). The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation. You must submit this documentation prior to submitting assignments or taking the quizzes or exams. Accommodations are not retroactive, therefore, students should contact the office as soon as possible in the term for which they are seeking accommodations.

University Policy on Academic Misconduct

Academic honesty and integrity are fundamental values of the University community. Students should be sure that they understand the UF Student Honor Code at http://www.dso.ufl.edu/students.php.

Netiquette and Communication Courtesy

All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all email messages, threaded discussions and chats.

Getting Help

Other resources are available at http://www.distance.ufl.edu/getting-help for:

  • Counseling and Wellness resources

  • Disability resources

  • Resources for handling student concerns and complaints

  • Library Help Desk support

Should you have any complaints with your experience in this course please visit http://www.distance.ufl.edu/student-complaints to submit a complaint.

Most importantly, if you are struggling for any reason please come talk to us and we will do our best to help.

Grading scale

  • A 93-100

  • A- 90-92

  • B+ 87-89

  • B 83-86

  • B- 80-82

  • C+ 77-79

  • C 73-76

  • C- 70-72

  • D+ 67-69

  • D 60-66

  • E <60

Course Schedule

The details course schedule is available on the course website.

Disclaimer: This syllabus represents our current plans and objectives. As we go through the semester, those plans may need to change to enhance the class learning opportunity. Such changes, communicated clearly, are not unusual and should be expected.