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Performing a population viability analysis from data students collect on a local plant

During two lab periods, students collect demographic data on perennial plants and then use these data in a matrix model to perform population viability analyses. During the first lab, students tag and record data on individual plants in the field. During the second lab, students compile these data to build transition matrices and then use R to run simulations. In the first year that instructors run this experiment, simulated field data of subsequent years is used to complete the classroom exercises. In subsequent years, students use real data from previous years. No prior experience with R is necessary.
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Primary or BEN resource type
Secondary resource type
General Biology Core Concepts
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords Conservation biology, demography, extinction, life history, plant ecology, population ecology
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description This exercise could be performed by majors or non-majors in intro or upper division college courses or in pre-college environments, although the skills taught might be most relevant to college majors. This exercise is easily transferable across geographies and different plant species. Students with physical disabilities may encounter challenges in the field work portion of the lab depending on access to the chosen field site.
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Hampshire College
Primary Author email
Secondary Author Name(s) Sydne Record
Secondary Author Affiliation(s) Harvard University, Harvard Forest
Secondary Author Email(s)
Submitter Name Teresa Mourad
Submitter Email
Rights Copyright is held by author.
Date Of Record Submission 2014-06-02

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