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  1. Abstract New graduate students in biology programs may lack the quantitative skills necessary for their research and professional careers. The acquisition of these skills may be impeded by teaching and mentoring experiences that decrease rather than increase students’ beliefs in their ability to learn and apply quantitative approaches. In this opinion piece, we argue that revising instructional experiences to ensure that both student confidence and quantitative skills are enhanced may improve both educational outcomes and professional success. A few studies suggest that explicitly addressing productive failure in an instructional setting and ensuring effective mentoring may be the most effective routes to simultaneously increasing both quantitative self-efficacy and quantitative skills. However, there is little work that specifically addresses graduate student needs, and more research is required to reach evidence-backed conclusions. 
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  2. Abstract

    There is often considerable uncertainty in parameters in ecological models. This uncertainty can be incorporated into models by treating parameters as random variables with distributions, rather than fixed quantities. Recent advances in uncertainty quantification methods, such as polynomial chaos approaches, allow for the analysis of models with random parameters. We introduce these methods with a motivating case study of sea ice algal blooms in heterogeneous environments. We compare Monte Carlo methods with polynomial chaos techniques to help understand the dynamics of an algal bloom model with random parameters. Modelling key parameters in the algal bloom model as random variables changes the timing, intensity and overall productivity of the modelled bloom. The computational efficiency of polynomial chaos methods provides a promising avenue for the broader inclusion of parametric uncertainty in ecological models, leading to improved model predictions and synthesis between models and data.

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