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Name:________________________________ BIOL 111 Population Census Techniques

INTRODUCTION Knowledge of the size or density of a population is potentially a very valuable piece of information. This information is essential for studies of population biology, community ecology, and conservation. Many techniques exist for acquiring estimates or relative indices of population sizes. In this laboratory, you will conduct several distinct census techniques to arrive at estimates of population sizes and changes in that size over time. To prepare for this weeks quiz and lab exercises, please read this entire lab handout as well as sections 45.2 and 45.3 (on pages 799-801) in your textbook. In this weeks lab, you will use several techniques to estimate population size (or total biomass) in five different populations. Estimate 1: How many animals are in a population? Suppose the population of animals (here played by elbow macaroni!) is of size N. And thus, N is the number we wish to estimate. To make this estimate, follow these simple steps of a CaptureRecapture Method: 1) Dump one beaker of macaroni into the pan provided (they represent your population of animals). 2) Capture one handful of animals (i.e., macaroni) and place them back in the beaker. 3) One by one, remove each animal from the beaker, mark it with a Sharpie, then return it to the main population in the pan. Be sure to count the number marked! 4) Repeat this marking procedure with all animals in your sample. The number of macaroni that you have marked will be called M. 5) Shake the pan for 10 seconds to simulate movements of the marked animals back into the population. 6) Take a second sample (handful) of animals from the pan and count them. This is n. 7) How many individuals in this second sample are marked? We will call this number m. 8) The proportion of recaptured animals is assumed to be the same as the proportion of marked animals:

m=M n N And thus, the population size in the beaker, N, can be determined as follows: N = nM m

This estimation method is known as the Lincoln Index. The method requires that the following conditions are met: No immigration, emigration, births or deaths between the release and recapture times. The probabilities of being caught are equal for all individuals (marked and unmarked). Marks (or tags) are not lost and are always recognizable.

QUESTION 1) Do you believe that the above three conditions were met during your sampling? Explain.

QUESTION 2) How many animals were in your first sample (M)?

QUESTION 3) How many animalswere in your second sample (n)?

QUESTION 4) How many animalsin your second sample carried a mark (m)?

QUESTION 5) How many total animals (N) do you estimate are in the population?

QUESTION 6) Suppose your method did not meet the above assumptions of this method. Assume that 20% of your marked individuals lost their mark before you took your second sample. How would this affect your estimate of N?

Estimate 2: How many oak trees are on our campus? Now I need to know how many oak trees are on the Sweet Briar campus. Because counting all the oak trees on campus is too time consuming, it is desirable to use a Quadrat Method to count a sample of the campus and then extrapolate to the entire campus. Still, this requires a LOT of walking around, so we are going to be even lazier. We are going to simulate oak trees on campus by using a elbow macaroni and an aluminum pan marked with a grid. The aluminum pan will symbolize Sweet Briars campus, the macaroni will symbolize oak trees on campus, and the grid drawn in the bottom of the pan will symbolize a similar grid that you could draw on a campus map.

To estimate the number of elbows (i.e., oak trees) in the box (i.e., on campus), do the following: 1) Dump the macaroni into the large aluminum pan. 2) Count the number of macaroni in FIVE squares (selected randomly). 3) Multiply this number by the total number of squares in the pan (i.e., covering the campus). QUESTION 7) How many oak trees (i.e., elbows) are on campus (i.e., in the aluminum pan)?

QUESTION 8) Quadrat methods are usually reserved for estimates of plant populations. Why would this method not be useful to estimate the number of deer on campus?

QUESTION 9) How would your estimate of the number of oak trees on campus be influenced by populations of oak trees that are clumped vs. uniformly distributed vs. randomly distributed? Which distribution would be most consistent with this method?

QUESTION 10) Suppose I did not trust your estimate using this quadrat method. Design a second method and re-estimate the number of elbows in the population. What is this second estimate?

QUESTION 11) How does this new estimate compare with your first estimate? If they are different, which estimate do you trust more? Why?

Estimate 3: How many rabbits can I maintain on our front lawn? I have decided that I want to start a rabbit farm on campus. I plan to erect a fence around the large rectangular lawn that is in front of Guions front door. My problem is that I do not know how many rabbits can be supported by the grass growing on this plot of land. Your job is to make these estimates for me. First, go outside and estimate the biomass of grass (in kilograms) that grows within this small plot of land. QUESTION 12) How will you make this estimate? (DISCUSS your proposed methods with me BEFORE going outside.)

QUESTION 13) What is the biomass (in kilograms) of grass within this small plot?

QUESTION 14) Assuming an ecological efficiency of 10%, what is the biomass (in kg) of rabbits that this plot of grass can support?

QUESTION 15) The mean mass of a rabbit is 1.4 kg. How many rabbits can I keep in my pen?

Estimate 4: How does sample size influence our estimate of the fish community living within Sweet Briars Lower Lake? Two beautiful lakes can be found on campus, the Upper Lake and the Lower Lake. Suppose we wanted to determine the ratio of the three species of fishes living in the Lower Lake: sunfish, minnows, and smallmouth bass. To simulate the lake and its fishy residents, we are going to use a jar of colored beans, one color for each species of fish. To perform this simulation, follow these steps: 1) One member of your group will be the Lake Master. She will create the fish community of the lake by placing a KNOWN NUMBER of colored beans into a beaker. 2) The other members of your group will each take a sample of beans from the jar while their EYES ARE CLOSED. One of you should take a small sample (5-10 beans), one of you should take a moderately sized sample (30-50 beans), and one of you should take a large sample of beans (as many as you can hold in your hand).

3) Using your three samples of beans, complete the following table as a group: Sample #1 Total number Number of color 1 Number of color 2 Number of color 3 Color 1 % in Jar Color 2 % in Jar Color 3 % in Jar Compare your estimates of the percentages of each fish species in the lake (i.e., each bean color in the jar) with the KNOWN percentages that were placed in the jar. QUESTION 16) Which sample provided the most misleading estimate? Which sample Sample #2 Sample #3 Total in Beaker

provided the best estimate of color ratios in the jar? What does this tell you about the importance of sample size?

Estimate 5: How does the size of a bacterial population change over time? Bacteria grow and reproduce when the nutrients they require are in plentiful supply and their environment is hospitable. If a small number of bacteria are inoculated into a vial containing fresh nutrient broth, the bacteria will begin to reproduce using binary fission. At first, their rate of reproduction will be slow, as they adjust to their new environment. This phase of slow increase in the bacterial population is known as the lag phase. Within a short period of time, the bacteria begin to exhibit a rapid, sustained increase in numbers; this rapid growth is known as the exponential growth phase. As the number of bacteria increase, they begin to use up much of their food supply. Gases necessary for their metabolic processes are also depleted if the chamber is sealed. Metabolic wastes and toxins accumulate, along with the remains of dead bacterial cells. These processes act together to slow the expansion of the bacterial population, and it enters a state of equilibrium known as the stationary phase or the plateau phase at the carrying capacity of the container. Finally, as nutrients are depleted and waste products accumulate, the population drops rapidly, with more bacteria dying than reproducing. This last phase is known as the death phase. To determine the change in the size of a population of bacteria over a time interval, t, you need to know N at the beginning of t, and you need to know N at the end of t. (The Greek letter [Delta] is used to indicate change.) Subtracting the initial number of bacteria from the final number of bacteria produces the change in the population (N) over the time interval: Nfinal Ninitial = N Dividing the change in population by the length of time over which it occurred provides the rate of change: N / t = Rate of Change in the Population A known concentration (population density) of bacteria was placed into a flask containing sterile nutrient broth causing the broth to have an initial concentration of 10 bacterial cells/mL. During the next two days, the broth was periodically sampled, and the concentration of viable bacterial cells per mL was determined. Here are the results:

Time (hours) 8 12

Bacterial cells/mL 90 10,000

19 24 30 33 36 40

10,000,000 600,000,000 500,000,000 1,000,000 10 1


QUESTION 17) How did the population density change over time?

QUESTION 18) During which time interval did the maximum rate of population increase occur?

QUESTION 19) Draw a rough graph of population size versus time:


QUESTION 20) How would the shape of the graph differ if fresh nutrient broth was introduced into the flask each day, and used broth was filtered off? (Assume that whole bacteria, viable and nonviable, would not be removed by this system.)

QUESTION 21) Calculate the actual population size of the bacteria at 24 hours, using the data given. (Assume the chamber size was 4 liters, and that the aliquots of broth removed for population testing were so small that they did not affect this volume appreciably.)

QUESTION 22) The population curve model assumes a closed system. Do you think the human population on Earth would follow the dynamics of this model? Why or why not? (HINT: In what ways is the Earth like a closed system, and in what ways is it not?)