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Demographic vital rates and population growth: an introduction to projection matrices and elasticity analysis

In this TIEE dataset, students address the question of how changes in demographic vital rates influence the rate of population growth.

Students learn how projection matrices and elasticity analysis can be applied to a case-study exploring loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) conservation and population dynamics. Students are first introduced to the concept of vital rates and population growth. Students use published data on vital rates of loggerhead sea turtles to identify various vital rate values, draw a life cycle graph, and construct a matrix of vital rates. Students use the vital rate values and population matrix to calculate population growth rate (λ) and graph population size over time. Students also determine the relative influence of vital rates on population growth rate (λ) by calculating elasticity values for each vital rate.
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Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords Population ecology, demography, life history
Key taxa loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description Skills developed include data analysis, graph preparation, use of spreadsheets,and use of primary literature. Student-active approaches utilized include guided inquiry, think-pair-share, write before discussion, and cooperative learning. Assessable outcomes include calculations of population growth rate, and graphs for population growth
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Natural Science Department, Sterling College, Sterling, KS 6757
Primary Author email
Rights Copyright 2011 by Jonathan M. Conard and the Ecological Society of America
Date Of Record Submission 2011-08-29

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