Lecture 6. Life-tables and k-values

Course: Quantitative Population Ecology
Dept. of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

©Alexei Sharov

In this lecture you will learn how to collect data for the analysis of population processes.

Analysis of population processes is as easy as balancing your personal budget! You need to estimate the increases and losses in population numbers due to different processes. If you are lucky, then the net change in population numbers will be equal to the algebraic sum of the effects of all studied processes. If you are less lucky, then some of the increases or losses in population numbers will be missing. In this case, the non-attributed mortality is considered as the effect of some unknown factor, we can call it "winter mortality" or "mystery disease". Additional research can be done later to study these unknown processes.

Ecological processes are usually specific to organisms' age or stage. Thus, they have to be recorded relative to the life-cycle stage. This information is usually called a "life-table". Two types of life-tables are generally used: (1) age-dependent and (2) stage-dependent.

Alexei Sharov 1/11/96