In this class we will survey a broad range of data analysis methods, with a focus on developing creative algorithms for solving non-standard problems (which in ecology and natural resources management means pretty much every dataset!).


First let’s take a walk through the online syllabus:

Link to syllabus

Final projects

It is never too early to start thinking about final project ideas and datasets. See the Links page for a list of online databases that you could use for your projects (e.g., GBIF) that I will post to the course website.

Making up classes and labs

Many of you have already informed me you will need to miss some lab or class periods for various valid reasons, such as field work. Course materials and laboratory exercises will be posted online in enough detail to complete on your own. That said, much of the benefit of this course will come from interactions with peers and the instructor during class and lab periods and I expect you to do your best to attend and participate wherever possible!


Please order the course textbook (Ecological Modeling and Data in R, by Ben Bolker) as soon as possible. You can purchase the textbook on Amazon. All other readings will be posted on WebCampus.

Learning R

All of you should have R and RStudio installed on your computers. See the links page for some useful references. I will be leading “bootcamps” on using R in two upcoming Saturday afternoons (Sep 7 and 14)- please consider attending if you don’t have much experience in R!

math/bio “stats chats”

Paul Hurtado (math/stats dept) and I host informal sessions for grad students in EECB, NRES, Geography etc (and faculty) to discuss data analysis questions. This can be a good opportunity to ask questions, find out more about what types of data and questions your peers are working with, and contribute some insights! We haven’t figured out a time yet for this semester, but I’ll keep you posted.

Student led topics

Use the following link to sign up for a topic and a date. Once you have selected a topic, please move your topic to the “Topic” column and use a strikethrough in the “Unused topics” list to indicate the topic is taken!

Google sheets link


Let’s take some time go around the room and introduce each other and what we are hoping to get out of this course.

Please take the time to introduce yourself in more detail on the “WebCampus” site – I posted a question on the discussion board, which some of you have already responded to…

Remember, I need your frequent and honest feedback in order to make sure that the level is appropriate and the topics are useful!