WK 6 - New Approaches to Sensitivity Analysis of Population Models and Markov Chains

Sunday, August 7, 2011: 8:30 AM-12:00 PM
12A, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Hal Caswell
It is now standard practice to accompany almost any calculation of population growth rate with a sensitivity analysis. The results are used in conservation, evolutionary ecology, management, and statistics. But population growth rates, and the linear models that produce them, are hardly the only game in town. What about the sensitivities of short-term transient dynamics, of nonlinear equilibria and cycles, of life expectancy, of generation time? What about the sensitivity of Markov chain models for life cycles, movement, and succession? It is now possible to calculate all these and more. The mathematical approach (matrix calculus) is relatively new to ecology, but is easy to learn and to implement. This workshop will introduce the basic methods, and show how to implement them numerically. With examples. And interpretations. To benefit from this workshop, you should be familiar with the basics of matrix population models and the sensitivity/elasticity of growth rates. If you bring a laptop running Matlab (or R, if you want), you can try out some calculations.
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Banner photo by Flickr user greg westfall.