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Exercise 1: Modeling Exponential Population Growth
A. Did you have any populations that initially went extinct? What does this say about minimum population size?
B. Graph the final population on the y-axis and the generations on the x-axis. What does this graph look like? Explain what is happening to the population.
C. Graph the rate of natural increase on the y-axis and the generations on the x-axis. What is the shape of the graph?
D. Explain the difference between density-dependent factors and density-independent factors and give an example of each.
E. In this exercise, you modeled exponential growth. In a real population, can this occur forever? Why or why not?
F. Why do conservation biologists want to make projections about population growth? How do you think such information can be used?
G. What is the average rate of natural increase for your population?
Exercise 2: Estimating population size: mark-recapture
A. What happened to the estimate as you performed subsequent recaptures?
B. What happened to the standard error for each recapture phase?
C. What happened to the 95% confidence interval for each recapture phase?
D. How close was your final estimate to the true number of individuals?
E. In an actual research study, how might the time between recapture events influence the accuracy of your estimate?
F. Why might non-invasive techniques, such as fecal sampling and hair traps, be preferable to capturing and marking individuals?
G. Besides population size, what are other important things to know about a population in order to project its growth?
H. You have captured and marked 51 individuals in a population of dusky-footed woodrats (Neotoma fuscipes). In a subsequent recapture phase, you captured 65 individuals of which 34 had been previously marked. Estimate the population size, the standard error of your estimate, and the 95% confidence interval.
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