Fall 2021 - BISC 407 D100

Population Dynamics (3)

Class Number: 1982

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 3159, Burnaby

    Fr 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 4120, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    BISC 102 and either BISC 204 or GEOG 215, all with a grade of C- or better.



An evaluation of factors influencing the natural fluctuation and regulation of plant and animal population numbers.


Using a combination of theory and applied exercises students will explore various facets of population biology and evaluate the factors influencing the natural fluctuation and regulation of plant and animal populations.

Course Outline:
  • Population growth (exponential, logistic, age-structured: life table analysis & projection matrix) 
  • Stability, oscillations, chaos in pop dynamics 
  • Species interactions (competition, predator-prey, host-parasitoid, host-pathogen) 
  • Spatial distribution (population dispersion, source-sink dynamics, metapopulation) 
  • Population estimation 
  • Case studies


  • Labs/Tutorials 30%
  • Midterm exam 30%
  • Final exam 40%


Effective immediately, the Department of Biological Sciences is adopting a mandatory mask policy for all areas under Biology’s control and in spaces elsewhere where Biology faculty teach, applying to everyone regardless of vaccination status.



Mathematical software will be used during lectures and tutorials (programming language still TBD)


Otto, SP and Day, T, 2007. A Biologist's Guide to Mathematical Modeling in Ecology and Evolution


Rockwood, L.L. 2006. Introduction to population ecology (SFU library, paperback)

Turchin, P. 2003. Complex population dynamics: a theoretical/empirical synthesis (SFU library, ebook)

Thompson, S.K. 2012. Sampling (SFU library, ebook)

Buckland, S.T., et al. 1993. Distance Sampling: Estimating Abundance of Biological Populations. Chapman and Hall, London.

Krebs, C.J. 1999. Ecological Methodology (ed 2)

Gotelli, Nicholas J., A Primer of Ecology

Stevens, M. H. H. 2009. A primer of ecology with R (SFU library, ebook)

Registrar Notes:


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Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.