MEES 634: Introduction to bioenergetics and population dynamics

Instructors: Drs T. J. Miller and C. J. Rowe, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory


Odd Falls.  Taught from CBL and over IVN to MEES, HPL, AL

The teaching emphasis within MEES biology courses is correctly on system- or taxa-specific courses. We expect our students to understand and appreciate subtleties relating to estuarine ecology or fish ecology. To teach students to level we wish requires that students have a firm grasp of fundamental ecological principles. Yet, our students enter MEES with widely different backgrounds. Accordingly, lecturers in each course often find it necessary to cover fundamentals before moving on to concentrate on the areas of particular relevance to the topics being taught. This creates overlap between courses so that students often are presented the same information in several courses. In addition, the need to teach fundamental principles prevents consideration of more advanced areas in many courses.

"An introduction to bioenergetics and population dynamics" will provide instruction in fundamental areas of bioenergetics and population dynamics as a foundation on which more advanced courses can build. The course will focus on bioenergetic and population dynamic processes at the individual and population levels. Students taking the course will be introduced to the thermodynamic and bioenergetic principals that underlie patterns of energy partitioning in aquatic animals. The course will consider the sources and fates of energy that is acquired by individuals. The course will explore the demographic and life history consequences of surplus energy partitioning. Subsequently, students will be given instruction in the dynamics of single populations, motivated by developing an understanding of the population consequences of different patterns of energy partitioning. The course will cover simple exponential, density-dependent, unstructured and structured population growth. Population-level production will then be introduced. Predator-prey, competition and generalized Lotka-Volterra models will be covered. The course will end with a series of synthesis units in which case studies of the interaction between energetics and population dynamics will be considered. Examples of such case studies will be the influence of contaminants on energetics and population dynamics.

Last revised: 9/21/2005