Population ecology: Black bears and black beans

Today, as part of the module ‘Conservation & Restoration Ecology’ Ms. Micheletti gave an insight into the life of a population ecologist. The course participants had to slip into the role of wildlife biologists and find out how many black bears (Ursus americanus) live in Alaska by applying a mark and recapture technique. Thereby the course was split into four groups, each using different numbers of marked and recaptured animals to show how important a well-elaborated methodology is for successful wildlife management. Unfortunately due to time reasons the group was not able to go to Alaska this time, but the black bean (supposedly Phaseolus vulgaris)-experiment was at least equally suitable.

(Photos: T. Karp)

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