Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 19 Issue 04

View Issue TOC
Volume 19, No. 4
Pages 185 - 189

HANDS-ON OCEANOGRAPHY • An Integrated Model Simulation and Empirical Laboratory on Biological Encounter Rates

Susanne Menden-Deuer
First Paragraph


The following summary outlines a combined computer and laboratory exercise conducted in “Quantitative Ecology of Marine Systems,” a class I developed at the Shannon Point Marine Center, Western Washington University. The purpose of the laboratory exercise presented here is to familiarize students with the basic variables that drive biological encounter rates: organism speed, size, and abundance. In this inquiry-based exercise, students progress from developing a conceptual model to empirically testing predictions generated by a quantitative model. The learning objectives, beyond the subject matter, include sampling design, quantitative skills, and the association of conceptual and quantitative models. 


Menden-Deuer, S. 2006. Hands on oceanography: An integrated model simulation and empirical laboratory on biological encounter rates. Oceanography 19(4):185–189, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2006.37.

Supplementary Materials

Instructions for Students (64 KB pdf)

Simulation Code Files
       To run the simulations, download the two code files below into the same folder. Navigate to 
       that folder from within Matlab. Either type 'encounter' in the command window or open and 
       run the 'encounter.m' file.
            - enc_code.m (4 KB matlab code)
            - encounter.m (4 KB matlab code)