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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Free Ecology Software

Part of my work as a General Science Lab Instructor involves developed new aspects of already existing labs. One lab that I've been looking to improve is our ecology one where we needed to do something that showed how this sampling was done in the real world (the lab activity consisted of counting items). So, we decided to search for some free ecology software. I came across this excellent page by RP Gendron that lists all sorts of free ecology software (some links are broken). After trying a few of them out, we decided to go with PopSize and Populus. Popsize (screenshot below) is a simple, quick program that can be used for capture-recapture sampling, and allows adjustment of variables such as mortality rates and emigration. Populus is at the other end of the spectrum, and can used for many types of ecology models such as insect resistance management and heritability, altogether there are about 30 different types of models here. If your an instructor of ecology, you should definitely give these programs a try.