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Ottar Bjornstad

Ottar Bjornstad

Distinguished Professor of Entomology and Biology

Phone: 814-863-2983

Office: W-249 MSC Building

Research interests

I am involved in many collaborative studies on the outbreak and persistence of infectious disease.
My work has five interrelated themes:

  • Ecological statistics: how can we test theories about spatiotemporal variation using abundance data?
  • Population dynamics: how do the interactions between individuals and between individuals and the environment determine fluctuations in abundance? What are the effects of heterogeneity in the environment?
  • Interactions between species: how do competition, predation and parasitism affect disease dynamics?
  • Spatial dynamics: what causes regional synchrony or asynchrony in fluctuations?
  • Ecology of infectious disease: how do host and pathogen characteristics affect incidence of disease?

I combine mathematical modelling with analysis of empirical data sets to generate and test hypotheses.


Introduction to Population Dynamics

This course explore the area of 'population dynamics' which seeks to describe the patterns of fluctuation in abundance in space and time, and seeks to understand the processes that that underlies these fluctuations. The course illustrate conceptual/theoretical aspects and discuss important applied issues (relating to biocontrol, pest managment, population harvesting). The computer labs use computational frameworks to simulate, validate and parameterize ecological models. The aim of the course is two-fold: the lectures will be centered on concepts and theories, the labs will focus on implementation and hands-on exercises with data and models. We will work through a variety of examples using real and simulated data sets.

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