PURPOSE OF ACTIVITY
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.