Dynamic Ecology - an introduction to the art of simulating trophic dynamics

Publication type: Book

Author(s): Kevin J Flynn

Number of pages: 219

ISBN: 978-0-9567462-9-0

This book contains an introductory guide to get you started in modelling dynamic ecology, covering the interrelationship between conceptual and empirical models, and deterministic systems dynamic models. The book does not cover matrix, statistical, stochastic or other such approaches.

In essence, the book aims to provide an introduction to the modelling of ecology as it relates to the flows of material between biological and abiotic components of the ecosystem over time. Of course statistical models (as regression line fits) may be driven through data within time series. The presence of time as the x-axis on a plot reporting “model output vs data” is thus not indicative that a simulation model has been used. Many biologists and ecologists are caught by this confusion. It is safest to explicitly refer to models as statistical, dynamic or simulation to differentiate between these approaches.

To provide a point of reference, the book is based upon plankton ecology; for justifications, see Section 1.3. The book works through from very simple (often technically highly questionable) descriptions of biology and physiology through to more complex creations. These biological entities are operated within a simple framework describing the physical and chemical environment. The abiotic components are also described in simple terms, but with sufficient complexity and variety to demonstrate that the environment can easily have an overwhelming influence on the dynamics of ecology. By the time you have worked your way to the end of this book you will be well equipped to either develop and run your own physiologically detailed creations within simple abiotic frameworks, or you will have also expanded the physical description (perhaps to planetary scales). 

Keywords

Mathematical modelling, simulations, ecology, trophic dynamics, plankton
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