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Trends Ecol Evol. 1991 Jul;6(7):221-4. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(91)90026-T.

Finding confidence limits on population growth rates.

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Centro de Ecologia, UNAM, Ap. Postal 70-275, México DF 04510, México.


Recent concern with the survival of endangered species has renewed interest in estimating the growth rates of natural populations. Estimates of population growth rate are subject to uncertainties because of both sampling and experimental errors incurred when estimating rates of fecundity and survivorship. In recent years, a variety of methods have been proposed for placing confidence limits on estimated growth rates. The commonly used analytical approximation assumes that errors are relatively small. There are several computer-intensive methods, including methods based on jackknife and bootsrap procedures, that test the robustness of that approximation. In addition, several computer simulations of hypothetical populations have led to some generalizations about the performance of different methods. In general, it is possible to find confidence intervals for estimates of population growth rates but the appropriate method for doing so depends on the kind of data available and on the magnitude and correlation structure of the errors.

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