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Island Biogeography

Author(s): Daniel Lauer1, Emily Weigel1

Georgia Institute of Technology

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The students will practice the basic code to test MacArthur and Wilson’s (1967) Island Biogeography model, focusing on how island size, distance, and perturbation affect species numbers.

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Version 1.0 - published on 01 Jan 2020 doi:10.25334/ABY7-GQ05 - cite this


This lesson focuses on collecting and generating curves from immigration and extinction data for MacArthur and Wilson’s (1967) Island Biogeography model. The students will complete a lesson in R to practice the basics of using R for generating simulated data and how to plot vectors. They will apply the methodology outlined in this swirl lesson to data they collect for immigration and extinction on various island types.   


Learning objectives:

  1. Complete a prelab reading to familiarize themselves with the goals of the lesson and the background ecological information of Island Biogeography as described by Wilson and MacArthur (1967)
  1. Practice coding elements necessary to create vectors and practice simple ‘for’ loops to create plots of both simulated and real data in R
  1. Apply the methods and coding learned through swirl to their own immigration and extinction data for various island types (near vs. far, large vs. small, etc.)


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