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Modelling Bio-economic Dynamics




Admissions requirements

Mathematical Modelling: passing grade. Calculus recommended.

Participants should have a sufficient proficiency and interest in mathematics, and be prepared to amend their mathematics skills when necessary.


Humans exploit their natural environment in many ways. This exploitation can become a driving force that ultimately determines the fate of biological resources. The interaction between ecological and socio-economical dynamics has often led to unforeseen catastrophic results. In some cases warning signs were present, but ignored for economic reasons, and disaster ensued.

The collaborative development of dynamical models by mathematicians, biologists, and economists provides a growing insight into the human and biological mechanisms that underlie ecosystem collapses. These models show which factors are crucial in determining the fate of ecosystems. They are used to examine the consequences of scenarios that are too risky, too costly, or simply impossible to study with practical experiments.

This is a course on how to build and study such models. We will study general patterns predicted by strategic models that capture the main features of socio-economic systems and ecosystems rather than detailed, complex models that can only be applied to particular situations. We focus on continuous-time dynamics, described by systems of differential equations, and put the emphasis on the conceptual basis of model building. The software package R is used to examine model dynamics numerically.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  • Design, adjust, and refine dynamical models for interactive ecological and socio-economical dynamics.

  • Analyse models numerically and (when possible) mathematically,

  • Interpret the results of models in their practical context,

  • Critically evaluate models.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, group presentations, assignments, class discussions.


  • Class participation: 10%

  • Two Quizzes: each 15%, total 30% (weeks 3, 5)

  • Two reports on individual modelling assignments: each 15%, total 30% (weeks 4,6)

  • Group project report: 30% (week 8)


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Lecture notes and selection of papers.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. P. Haccou: