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Teaching Resources

Below are some materials for various lessons that I have used in my classes, primarily in MEES 637: Zooplankton Ecology. These materials are adapted from notes from Bruce Frost, from his Zooplankton Ecology graduate course in the Oceanography program at University of Washington. There are newer versions of these materials (as of September 2019) that I am willing to share if you contact me via email.


In addition, I have adapted two of these models in R as interactive Shiny apps:

  1. Click here for a modified version of the Evans and Parslow (1985), with sliders that show how the output changes as various parameters are altered. The code was modified from code found in the text book Biological Oceanography (Miller and Wheeler 2012). In this app, the original model output is maintained as thin lines on the graphs to show the difference that occur as parameters are altered using the sliders on the sidebar on the left. Four parameters are modifiable:
    • Latitude (which affects solar insolation and thus phytoplankton growth rate)
    • Deep Nutrient Concentration (which also affects phytoplnakton growth rate)
    • Phytoplankton Maximum Growth Rate
    • Zooplankton Grazing Rate

  2. Click here for a modified version of the reduced model from Evans and Parslow (1985) based on class notes from Bruce Frost's Zooplankton course at University of Washington, but modified to include four different options for zooplankton functional response to phytoplankton prey. The functional response parameterizations are accessed by a drop down menu, and the solar insolation (which controls phytoplankton growth rate) and zooplankton grazing coefficient are adjustable using sliders.

In addition, I have been developing a R Shiny app to illustrate what sample aliasing looks like, which is available here.


Evans, G. T., & Parslow, J. S. (1985). A model of annual plankton cycles. Biological oceanography, 3(3), 327-347.

Miller, C. B., & Wheeler, P. A. (2012). Biological oceanography. John Wiley & Sons.



James J. Pierson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

2020 Horns Point Rd.
Cambridge, MD 21613


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