Modeling Stream Ecosystem Dynamics
(ENSC 285A Fall 2003 UVM #90989)

Quick link to GSS models section

Note: This course is open to Undergrad and Grad students and can be taken for either 2 or 3 credits

Summary: Within the context of simulation modeling for watershed management, considerable attention has been given by hydrologists to 'rainfall-runoff' models and by physiological ecologists to 'plant-water relations' models. In comparison, relatively few ecosystem level models exist for in-stream biogeochemical processes. Typically in engineering models, for example, water is 'routed' through stream and river networks as if they were inert open pipes, with somewhat simplified physical delays and highly simplified nutrient/pollutant dynamics. In most cases, the nutrient/pollutant dynamics are treated as simple, proportional attenuations in which the nature and behavior of the biological communities is totally unspecified. Stream ecologists have developed a rich descriptive literature about stream ecosystems, but have been slow to synthesize this literature into dynamic models that can be used to explore stream ecosystem function, either by itself or in the context of watershed management. The purspose of this project-oreinted seminar will be to explore stream water dynamics using the Stella programming language. The seminar is approparite for both advanced undergraduates and graduate students. See the full syllabus for additional details.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Al Cassell for his thoughts, recommendations, models, and notes regarding use of STELLA for envrionmental modeling.


Full Syllabus

The Stella software web page place an order.

Be sure to buy the 'college/university faculty' version ($159)
(You have to call High Performance Systems to get the student version.)

Be sure to buy the correct version for your computer (PC or Mac)

The LINX home page


The following files are password protected
(Be patient. Some files make take several moments to open.)

Seminar meeting resources

Useful reference texts. See Breck to borrow these.

Stream Ecosystem Model purpose statements.

Meeting #1: Introduction to stream ecosystem modeling (notes and presentation).

Meeting #2: Fundamentals of STELLA modeling (notes and presentation).

Meeting #3: More complex STELLA models (notes).

Meeting #4: Special STELLA functions (notes and presentation).

Meeting #5: Discussion on stream photosynthesis literature (notes)

Meeting #6: Discussion on invertebrate communities in streams (notes)

Meeting #7: Discussion about invertebrate model structure

Meeting #8: Discussion about linked photosynthesis and nutrient uptake

Assignments, due as noted

Assignment #1 - Stella introduction (due 11 September)
STELLA examples (including the Predator-Prey model)

Assignment #2 - Radioactive decay of 32-P (due 16 September)

Assignment #3 - Light and temperature dependent photosynthesis sub-model (due 23 September)

Assignment #4 - Critical analysis #1: primary production in stream ecosystems (due 30 September)

Assignment #5 - Critical analysis #2: invertebrate community structure and function (due 7 October)

Assignment #6 - Invertebrate community structure and function sub-model Revised (due 14 October)

Assignment #7 - Nutrient uptake sub-model (due 21 October)

Photosynthesis sub-model

Assignment #8 - Work on General Stream Stoichiometry model stuff

Normal PDF mimic functions: Excel spreadsheet explanation

Breck's stocastic GSS model

Maeve's lastest GSS (18 Nov)

Carl's latest GSS model (NewE, 18 Nov)

Alex's latest GSS model (before Thanksgiving)

Critical analyses of stream ecology literature (cited papers are in a folder on my office shelf)

Critical analysis #1: Photosynthesis

Critical analysis #2: Invertebrates

Instructions for critical analyses of stream ecological literature

Cookbook format for critical analyses

Instructions for final presentation and report