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

SemesterSpring Semester 2021
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 05.03.2021.


701-1338-00 GBiogeochemical Modelling of Sediments, Lakes and Oceans2 hrs
Fri10:15-12:00CHN D 44 »
M. Schmid, D. Bouffard, M. Vogt

Catalogue data

AbstractIn this course, the students acquire skills to implement, evaluate and analyse the results of basic numerical models for the simulation of biogeochemical processes in aquatic systems using Python, to interpret and document model results, and to critically 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 the evaluation of processes in complex systems, the interpretion of observational data, and the projection of 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 Python, to interpret and document model results in written and oral form, and to critically 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 Python (box models, 1D-models, with applications from sediments, lakes, and oceans)
- Techniques for applied modelling & model testing (sensitivity analysis, parameter estimation)
- Model evaluation against observational data (model evaluation metrics in space and time)
- Interpretation and documentation of model results
- Model applications in current aquatic research (recent examples from the scientific literature)
Lecture notesPresentation slides, exercises, and some background material will be provided.
LiteratureDM 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
E Holzbecher, 2012, Environmental Modeling Using MATLAB, 2nd edition, Springer
Prerequisites / NoticeThe students are expected to work with their own laptop where Python should be installed prior to the start of the class. We recommend also installing a development environment such as the Educational Edition of PyCharm or the Anaconda distribution with Spyder.

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

Basic programming knowledge in Python is required, e.g. the following course:
Anwendungsnahes Programmieren mit Python (252-0840-02L, spring semester, 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 examinationExercises: Six exercises will support student learning and allow for an ongoing self-assessment in terms of the course's learning objectives. 5 out of 6 exercises need to be handed in during the semester as a compulsory prerequisite for participation in the case study.

Case study: During the second half of the semester, students will develop, implement, test, and interpret their own model for a selected biogeochemical case study in groups of two students. Students will present their project in written and oral form. A short presentation of the work will be given to a peer group for discussion and peer-to-peer evaluation. The students will then document their findings in a project report, which will include a description of their model and its scientific application, as well as a critical interpretation of the results and a discussion of the limitations of the model. The final course grade will be based on the written project report.

Learning materials

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


No information on groups available.


Places18 at the most
Waiting listuntil 05.03.2021

Offered in

Environmental Sciences MasterMethods and Tools: Modelling CoursesWInformation