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Unformatted text preview: Exercise 3B Estimating Population Size: Mark-Recapture
Parts of this lab adapted from General Ecology Labs, Dr. Chris Brown, Tennessee Technological University and Ecology on
Campus, Dr. Robert Kingsolver, Bellarmine University. Introduction
One of the goals of population ecologists is to explain patterns of species distribution and
abundance. In today’s lab we will learn some methods for estimating population size and for
determining the distribution of organisms. Measuring Abundance: Mark-Recapture
Mobile animals are usually simpler to define as individuals, but harder to count, because they tend
to move around, mix together, and hide from ecologists. Quadrats are not a good approach with
mobile animals because immigration and emigration in and out of the study site make it hard to
know what area the entire population occupies. For largemouth bass in a farm pond, you could
easily draw a line around a map of the population, but how would you define the edges of a
population of house sparrows in your community? Although house sparrows tend to be more
concentrated in towns and urban areas, they do not stop and turn back at the city limit sign....
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