Incorporating ‘recruitment’ in matrix projection models: estimation, parameters, and the influence of model structure Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Advances in the estimation of population parameters using encounter data from marked individuals have made it possible to include estimates of the probability of recruitment in population projection models. However, the projected growth rate of the population, and the sensitivity of projected growth to changes in recruitment, can vary significantly depending upon both the structural form of the model and how recruitment is parameterized. We show that the common practices of (1) collapsing some age classes into a single, terminal ‘aggregated’ age-class, and (2) parameterizing recruitment using the proportion of recruited individuals (breeders) in a given age-class may confound analysis of age-based (Leslie) matrix projection models in some instances, relative to state-based projection models where recruited and pre-recruited individuals are treated as separate states. Failing to account for these differences can lead to misinterpretation of the relative role of recruitment in the dynamics of an age-structured population.We show that such problems can be avoided, either by structural changes to the terminal aggregated age-class in age-based models, or by using using a state-based model instead. Since all the metrics of general interest from a classical age-based matrix models are readily derived from a state-based model equivalent, this suggests there may be little reason to use the classical age-based approach in situations where recruitment is a parameter of interest.

publication date

  • February 2012