Free sotware for teaching ecology

Robert P. Gendron rgendron at grove.iup.edu
Tue Jan 6 12:03:58 EST 1998

If you teach college-level ecology you may be interested in two programs
I wrote for my ecology class.  You can download them from my web site
and use them free of charge.

POPSIZE is a simulation of the mark-recapture method for estimating
population size.  I use it to supplement an exercise carried out with
real populations in the field.  With this program students can run
hundreds or thousands of simulated mark-recapture experiments and
observe the result. Sample size, mortality and emigration can all be
varied to see how this affects the estimate.  There are also two models
to choose from.  In addition to what it teaches about the mark-recapture
method this program also gives students a more intuitive grasp of
statistical sampling in general.  For
example, students should have a better understanding of what a 95%
confidence limit means after running the simulation 1000 times and
observing that the confidence limits do not always encompass the true
population size. 

COMPETE teaches about the Lotka-Volterra competition model. By varying
parameters such as initial population size, reproductive rate and
competition coefficients tudents can carry out "what if" experiments to
study the theoretical dynamics of competing populations.

To download these programs go to http://www.iup.edu/~rgendron

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