We estimate the size of a population of small mice in a particular filed by the mark-recapture method. Our estimate is 350. Later we learned from experiments on the behavior of these mice that they can locate a baited trap faster if they have already been rewarded with food by visiting that trap once before. Does this mean that our original estimate of 350 individuals was to low or too high? Explain your answer in terms of the principals that underlie the mark-recapture method
This is a straightforward example that demonstrates the principles of estimating population size using Mark-Recapture methods. The basic idea behind these methods is that we can use marking or other techniques to identify individuals within a population and then later use the ratio of marked to unmarked individuals within samples of this population to determine how large the population is. Wikipedia has a fairly simple overview of the basics of mark-recapture methods here:
The most commonly used analysis of mark recapture data is the Lincoln-Peterson Method, which I assume you will be using in your lab. This method has four basic assumptions (from www.cst.cmich.edu/users/gehri1tm/BIO%20340/Lab%205%20%20mark-recapture/mark-recap%20CMU.doc ):
1. All individuals in the population have ...
Tthe mark-recapture method is embodied.