Population dynamics

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UFR Sciences et techniques de la Côte Basque

Population dynamics


Course description: 

This course deals with theoretical and empirical approaches of population dynamics. It is aimed at students with basic knowledge of population ecology who may interact with population dynamics, as either field biologists, modelers or managers. A large part of the course is devoted to modelling, and we will try to answer questions such as: Why modelling population dynamics? How to build and use a model to solve my problems? How to collect relevant data to feed my model? At the end of the course, students should be able to build their own models, to understand and use other’s models, and to design relevant population surveys.

 Course structure:

For each concept, an introductory lecture is given, and case studies are performed as guided labs, mostly in computer rooms using R software. Main concepts are:

1. Estimation of population size by census, relative abundance (abundance indices, CPUE, density), absolute abundance (from density, removal, capture-mark-recapture).

2. Basic formalism and computer tools to build models and communicate about them.

3. Negative density-dependence.

4. Positive density-dependence.

5. Metapopulation.

6. Age-structured populations.

7. Stage-structured populations.

8. Multispecies systems.







 Know the different methods to estimate population size



 Design relevant population survey


 Guided work

 Build and use models of population dynamics


 Guided work (computer)


 Interpret and include model outputs in reports Analysis-Synthesis Guided work and homework

Course Text and Materials: All slides shown during the lectures, R codes for the models and Rmarkdown templates for assignment reports are put on Elearn, as well as links to additional resources (books, websites…).

Keywords:survey, model, analysis, demography.

Conditions d'admission

Basic knowledge of population ecology, taste for programming and abstraction.

Pré-requis recommandés

Bibliography references

  • N. Gotelli. (2008) A primer of ecology (4th edition). Sinauer Associates. 290pp. ISBN-13: 978-0878933181
  • N. Gotelli & A. Ellison. (2012) A primer of ecological statistics (2nd edition). Sinauer Associates. 614pp. ISBN-13: 9781605350646
  • H. Kokko (2007) Modelling for field ecologists and other interesting people. Cambridge University Press. 240pp. ISBN-13 978-0-511-33405-4
  • PE Henderson & TRE Southwood (2016) Ecological methods (4th edition). Wiley. 656pp. ISBN-13 978-0-511-33405-4

Volume horaire

  • CM : 15
  • TD : 15


100% continuous evaluation. Guided labs start with very specific questions and end with more open questions. These are not treated during the guided lab, and must be done by student pairs from one week to the next. These assignments are graded. Also, students must build their own model relating to any subject in population dynamics.

Informations complémentaires



En bref

Crédits ECTS 3

Nombre d'heures 30

Niveau d'étude BAC +4




Tentelier Cédric

Responsable Master 2

UFR Sciences et Techniques Côte Basque
1 Allée du Parc Montaury
64600 Anglet
Tél : +33 559574447

Email : cedric.tentelier @ univ-pau.fr


  • Anglet