Students will learn how to set up a population matrix model in R and use it for demographic analysis of a population, including projecting population growth, determining lambda and the stable age distribution, and conducting an elasticity analysis.
Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group Make Teaching with R in Undergraduate Biology Less Excruciating 2020
In this exercise students learn how to build a population matrix model in R to represent demographic parameters for a population and perform demographic analyses using the R package ‘popbio.’ Two swirl lessons guide students through setting up the matrix and analysis using the matrix model. After completing these swirl lessons, students should be able to:
- develop a population matrix model in R
- understand the components of a population matrix model
- use a population matrix model to project population size in the future
- estimate lambda and determine the stable age distribution
- interpret the values from an elasticity analysis
This exercise was developed for an introductory ecology course typically taken by sophomores. Students should have some familiarity with R. Students taking the swirl course should also be given the supplied pdf file, “An introduction to using population matrix models in R,” which provides background information and some of the R code they will need. Powerpoint slides to introduce matrix models are also provided. This swirl course could be completed within a 50-minute class period by most students, if necessary background on population growth and matrix models is provided in advance and the course is installed via RStudio before the class period. Separate instructions to guide students through the process of installing swirl and the course file are provided. Students could also complete the swirl lessons outside of class time or in an online-only course.
- An introduction to population matrix models.pptx(PPTX | 1 MB)
- An introduction to using population matrix models in R.docx(DOCX | 265 KB)
- An introduction to using population matrix models in R.pdf(PDF | 434 KB)
- Final Swirl Lesson Plan_Population Matrix Models.pdf(PDF | 96 KB)
- Getting started with swirl.docx(DOCX | 21 KB)
- Getting started with swirl.pdf(PDF | 127 KB)
- Population_Matrix_Models.swc(SWC | 221 KB)
- License terms
Cite this work
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
- Apple, J. (2020). An introduction to population matrix models: a swirl lesson. Make Teaching with R in Undergraduate Biology Less Excruciating 2020, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/X2D5-YG13
Make Teaching with R in Undergraduate Biology Less Excruciating 2020
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