2019-2020 / OCEA0089-1

Introduction to marine ecosystems modelling


15h Th, 15h Pr

Number of credits

 Master in oceanography (120 ECTS)3 crédits 


Marilaure Grégoire

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

CHAPTER 1 Introduction

  • What is a model?
  • Why do we need models?
CHAPTER 2 Model formulation

  • Conceptual model
  • Mathematical model formulation
  • Formulation of ecological interactions
  • Chemical reactions
  • Inhibition
  • Coupled model equations
  • Impact of physical conditions
CHAPTER 3 Spatial components

  • Taonomy of spatial models
  • Spatial boundary conditions
  • Example: competitive interactions in a lattice model
CHAPTER 4 Parameterisation

  • In situ measurement
  • Literature-Derived parameters
  • Calib_ters.43
CHAPTER 5 Model solution

  • Initial conditions
  • Analytical solutions of differential equations
  • Numerical solution of differential equations
  • Steady-state and stability analysis
CHAPTER 6 Testing and validating the model

  • Dimensional homogeneity and consistency of units
  • Conservation of energy and mass
  • Testing the correctness of the model solution
  • Testing the internal logic of the model
  • Model verification
  • Model validity
  • Model sensitivity
  • Example_74
  • Example of the conservation principle: a mass budget of a marine bay
CHAPTER 7 Taxonomy of ecological models

  • Strategic versus tactic models
  • Continuous and discrete time models
  • Deterministic and stochastic models
  • Density-biomass specific models
  • Physiological - individual-based - population - ecosystem models
  • Example: growth of a Daphnia individual
CHAPTER 8 Appendices

  • Taxonomy of differential equations
  • Solving difference equations
CHAPTER 9 Books for further reading

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The main aim of this course is to learn how to conceptualize, parameterize and implement mathematical models of marine biogeochemical processes

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

None. The mathematics used will be quiet elementary

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The half part of the time will be devoted to the implementation of very simple examples in order to get familliar with models implementation

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

1.5 ECTS : theory
1.5 ECTS : Exercises

Recommended or required readings


Assessment methods and criteria

Evaluated practicle work

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks



Marilaure Grégoire, Laboratoire d'Océanologie, ULg
e-mail : mgregoire@ulg.ac.be
tel : 043663354

Items online

Ecosystem Modelling Practicals
Dear Students,

You will find here attached:

1) list of exercices that we will do during the practicals

2) R script for the first exercise (you will do the other scripts yourselves and I will give you the corrected version afterwards)

3) A Pdf describing the code in an easier way.

You will need :

Rmarkdown, deSolve, marelac, FME, diagram. 

Next lecture: Tuesday November 19th, 2PM, B22/1, Auditoire 0/35.

Have a great week-end,

Marilaure Grégoire