Population Models for Atlantic Loggerheads: Past, Present, and Future

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Journal/Book Title

Loggerhead Sea Turtles


Smithsonian Institution Press

Publication Date


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Population models can be useful tools for decision makers because they can quantify the relative effectiveness of different management options (Heppell et al. 2000b). This is particularly critical for long-lived species such as sea turtles, where a scientist's entire career may only span one or two turtle generations. Researchers have modeled the dynamics of a wide range of species and have addressed a variety of management applications, from simple biomass-based models in fisheries (Hilborn and Walters 1992) to population viability analysis (Beissinger and Westphal1998; Boyce 1992) for endangered species. In all cases, the models serve as hypodiesis-testing tools, where a series of potential outcomes is assessed based on a set of parameters and assumptions. While some models attempt quantitative predictions of population dynamics, such as the extinction probabilities in many population viability analyses, these models also serve as heuristic tools to compare the relative magnitude of population changes, even when quantitative predictions are not possible (Groom and Pascual 1998).

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