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AgeStructure

AgeStructure

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03/18/2014

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AGE STRUCTURE AND SURVIVORSHIP

Populations, whether animal or plant, vary in their proportions of
young and old individuals. Time units such as weeks, months, or years
can describe ages. Or individuals can be assigned to qualitative age
classes such as nestling, juvenile, subadult, and adult, or egg, larva,
pupa, and adult. The proportions of individuals belonging to the
various age groups are collectively referred to as the age structure
or age distribution of the population.

Three different procedures may be used for obtaining the age
structure of a population.

The vertical approach follows a particular cohort. A cohort is a group
of individuals born within the same time interval. Thus, by knowing
the age of cohort members, you can follow their survival until all have
died.

The horizontal approach uses data on all ages within a given
population at one time; that is all cohorts in the population are
examined at the same time. In the latter method, one assumes a
stable age structure and constant birth and death rates.

A third approach involves knowing the age at death for members of a
population. Such data are commonly obtained for a game species.

Knowledge of age structure is important, for the age distribution of
a population affects its growth and dynamics. From a knowledge of
age structure, a table of age-specific mortality, survivorship, and life
expectancy can be constructed \u2013 a life table. In addition, population
growth rates may be estimated from data on births per female in the
population.

1
LIFE TABLE

To construct a life table we must be able to determine the age of
the organisms in questions and distribute the population members
into age classes or age intervals. Age intervals can vary according to
the longevity of the organism. For small rodents or lagomorphs the
age interval may be one month, for deer one year, for humans five
years. For insects age categories may be instars or life history
stages. We need information on survival, mortality, or rate of
mortality by age classes for a given population. Data on survivorship
in each age class provide the information needed for survivorship
column,lx.

Table 1. A Life Table. The data in thex andLx columns were obtained from a
population of animals. Then, all other columns of data were derived from them,
as described in the text.

Age
(yr)

Cohort
(age
interval)

x
Number
in
Cohort,
Lx

Number
Living
at Start,

lx

Number
Dying
during

x, dx

Probability
of Dying
Life
duringx,

qx

Probability
of
Surviving
Intervalx,

sx

Animal-
Years
Live,

Tx
Live to
Expectancy,
ex(y r)
0-1
0
33
46
26
0.57
0.43
63
1.37
1-2
1
16
20
8
0.40
0.60
30
1.50
2-3
2
9
12
6
0.50
0.50
14
1.17
3-4
3
4
6
4
0.67
0.33
5
0.83
4-5
4
1
2
2
1.00
0.00
1
0.50
5-6
5
0
0
\u03a3dx = 46
Life Tables

In a life table various statistics are compiled for each age class, or cohort (designated x). Data are commonly collected as numbers of individuals in each age class.Lx is the number of individuals in age classx. It is assumed thatLx is the number alive at the middle of age classx (for example, in above table, 33 individuals assumed to be 0.5 year old, even though the true ages of the 33 might range between 0 and 1 year old).

We designatelx as the number of individuals alive at e beginning of
age classx. Thus,Lx may be defined as
2
Lx= ( lx+ lx+1)
(1)
2
(i.e.,Lx is the number alive at the midpoint of age classx), and
lx= 2Lx\u2013 lx+1
(2)
For example, in Table 1.

Lo = 33
L1 = 16
L2= 9
L3= 4
L4= 1
L5= 0

SinceL5 = 0, we can setl5 = 0. Then by applying Equation 2,

l5= 0
l4 = 2(1) \u2013 0 = 2
l3 = 2(4) \u2013 2 = 8 \u2013 2 = 6
l2 = 2(9) \u2013 6 = 18 \u2013 6 = 12
l1= 2(16) \u2013 12 = 32 \u2013 12 = 20
l0 = 2(33) \u2013 20 = 66 \u2013 20 = 46

The number of individuals in the population that die during intervalx
is
dx= lx\u2013 lx+1
(3)
Therefore,

d0 = 46 \u201320 = 26
d1 = 20 \u2013 12 = 8
d2 = 12 \u2013 6 = 6
d3= 6\u20132 =4
d4= 2\u20130 =2

3

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