Asymptotic distribution of density-dependent stage-grouped population dynamics models

Acta Biotheoretica (forthcoming)
Abstract
Matrix models are widely used in biology to predict the temporal evolution of stage-structured populations. One issue related to matrix models that is often disregarded is the sampling variability. As the sample used to estimate the vital rates of the models are of finite size, a sampling error is attached to parameter estimation, which has in turn repercussions on all the predictions of the model. In this study, we address the question of building confidence bounds around the predictions of matrix models due to sampling variability. We focus on a density-dependent Usher model, the maximum likelihood estimator of parameters, and the predicted stationary stage vector. The asymptotic distribution of the stationary stage vector is specified, assuming that the parameters of the model remain in a set of the parameter space where the model admits one unique equilibrium point. Tests for density-dependence are also incidentally provided. The model is applied to a tropical rain forest in French Guiana.
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