701-1338-00L  Biogeochemical Modelling of Sediments, Lakes and Oceans

SemesterSpring Semester 2019
LecturersM. Schmid, D. Bouffard, M. Vogt
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentNumber of participants limited to 18.

The waiting list will be deleted on March 1st, 2019.


701-1338-00 GBiogeochemical Modelling of Sediments, Lakes and Oceans2 hrs
Fri10:15-12:00CHN D 46 »
24.05.15:15-17:00CHN D 46 »
M. Schmid, D. Bouffard, M. Vogt

Catalogue data

AbstractIn this course, the students acquire skills to implement and test basic numerical models for the simulation of biogeochemistry in aquatic systems using Matlab, to interpret and document model results, and to discuss model limitations. The focus of the course is on practical applications.
ObjectiveThe aim of this course is to encourage and enable students to develop, test and apply basic numerical models for a range of biogeochemical applications, and to interpret model results.
ContentNumerical models are useful tools for evaluating processes in complex systems, interpreting observational data, and projecting the response of a system beyond the range of observations. In this course, the students acquire skills to implement and test basic numerical models for the simulation of biogeochemical processes in aquatic systems using Matlab, to interpret and document model results, and to discuss model limitations.
The course includes the following topics:
- Formulation of transport and reaction equations describing aquatic systems
- Numerical recipes (discretization in time and space, finite differences, finite volumes, initial and boundary conditions)
- Implementation of simple models in Matlab (box models, 1D-models, with applications from sediments, lakes, and oceans)
- Techniques for applied modelling & model testing (sensitivity analysis, parameter estimation)
- Interpretation and documentation of model results
- Model applications in current aquatic research (examples from scientific literature)
Lecture notesPresentation slides, exercises, and some background material will be provided.
LiteratureE Holzbecher, 2012, Environmental Modeling Using MATLAB, 2nd edition, Springer
DM Glover, WJ Jenkins, SC Doney, 2011. Modeling Methods for Marine Science, Cambridge University Press
K Soetaert, PMJ Herman, 2009. A Practical Guide to Ecological Modelling, Springer
Prerequisites / NoticeThe students are expected to work with their own Laptop where Matlab should be installed prior to the start of the class (available for free from Stud-IDES).

The following course or equivalent knowledge is required:
Mathematik III: Systemanalyse (701-0071-00L, autumn semester, German)

Basic programming knowledge in Matlab is required, e.g. the following course:
Anwendungsnahes Programmieren mit MATLAB (252-0840-01L, spring semester until 2017, German)

The following course is useful but not required:
Modelling Aquatic Ecosystems (701-0426-00L, spring semester, English)

The number of participants is limited to 18. Selection of the students: order of registration.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits3 credits
ExaminersM. Schmid, D. Bouffard, M. Vogt
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.
Additional information on mode of examinationSix exercises will support student learning and allow for an ongoing self-assessment in terms of the course's learning objectives. During the final weeks of the semester, students will develop, implement, test, and interpret their own model for a selected biogeochemical case study in groups of two. The students will document their findings in a project report, which will include a description of their model and its application, as well as a critical interpretation of the model results and a discussion of the limitations of the model. Towards the end of the course, the students will present the results of their case study in front of the class.
5 out of 6 exercises need to be handed in during the semester as a compulsory prerequisite for participation in the final project.
The written project report accounts for two thirds, and the oral presentation in class for one third of the final grade.

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


Places18 at the most
Waiting listuntil 01.03.2019

Offered in

Environmental Sciences MasterMethods and Tools: Modelling CoursesWInformation