FISH 558 Description
Fish are like trees, except they are invisible and they move: John Shepherd
The objective of this course is to expose students to how to use decision analysis to evaluate alternative management actions. The focus will be on fisheries applications, but the models and techniques are applicable broadly in quantitative conservation biology. 
The course is based on two major themes:
  • what is decision analysis and what are the key steps when conducting a decision analysis; and
  • using Bayesian methods to determine the probabilities that should be associated with alternative states of nature.
The decision analysis section of the course will focus on choosing states of nature to quantify key sources of uncertainty, identifying  candidate management actions that migOrange Roughy Imageht be evaluated, and defining  performance measures to summarize the consequences of each management action.

The second part of the course introduces Bayesian methods and how to sample parameter vectors from posterior distributions using numerical methods (the Sampling-Importance-Resample and Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods).  The use of Bayesian meta-analysis will be introduced as an approach to syntheszing data from multiple studies.

Decision analysis and Bayesian methods will be illustrated in class and during homework assignments using examples from fisheries and terrestrial systems. These examples include applying fisheries stock assessment methods based on fitting population dynamics models (age-aggregated, age-structured) to data for fish, invertebrate and marine mammal populations and using the parameterized models to conduct projections that evaluate risk-reward trade-offs for various management strategies.

Students will conduct decision analyses for an actual situation as part of the course evaluation.