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# Catch and Release Population Estimates Lab Collaborators Sarah Roberson and Cody Robinson Abstract The problem

was how effective the catch and release method is in measuring population size. The hypothesis was, if fifteen fish are tagged, then the population size will be off (higher or lower than the actual fish count) by five to ten fish, and there will be less variation with more fish tagged. Fourteen different groups put plastic beads that were all the same color into a bag, and putting in 10, 15, or 20 different colored beads to represent the tagged fish. Each group shook the bag and caught random numbers of fish 10, 15, or 20 times then calculated the estimated population size. Then the actual numbers of fish were counted, the percent error was calculated, and the results were put into a group table. The less fish tagged, and the least amount of catches provided the best results. This was not true to the hypothesis. Catch and release could be an effective way to measure population, if the fish, or whatever is being caught and released, can stay alive once they are released.

Problem How effective is the catch and release method in measuring population size? Hypothesis If fifteen fish are tagged, then the population size will be off (higher or lower than the actual fish count) by five to ten fish, and there will be less variation with more fish tagged. Parts of the Experiment The control group was the bag of fish with no tagged fish. The experimental group were the bags of fish with tagged fish. The independent variables were how many fish were tagged, and how many times each group tagged and released fish. The dependent variable was how close the estimated population was to the actual population size. Materials Paper bag A large number of plastic beads (all the same color) 10 30 plastic beads that are a different color than the other plastic beads Methods 1. Put the large number of same colored plastic beads (fish) into the paper bag. 2. Put a sample catch of 10, 15, or 20 of the different colored beads (tagged fish) into the bag.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Shake the bag. Without looking, remove a sample catch from the population in the bag. Repeat this for a total of 10, 15, or 20 catches. Calculate the percent tagged for each catch and average that column. Calculate the estimated population size. Count the actual population. Calculate the percent error between the estimated population and the actual population. Compare those numbers with the other groups to test the hypothesis. Data

Number tagged

Number of catches 15

% error 2.5%

20 15 10 15 20 7.1% 7%

20

15

23.8%

15 10 10 20 10 20

13%

9%

1.5%

15

10

20.8%

15 15 20 15 20 10 15 15

42%

30.1%

8.1%

16%

20 20 15 15

14.6%

3%