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Traditional models underestimate extinction rates

the flea experiments. When density dependence was not included, extinction rates were greatly underestimated.

Drake's results underscore the importance of bolstering extinction models with empirical validation--and of accounting for population density--to accurately evaluate risk and enhance recovery programs for at-risk populations. As threats to endangered species continue to mount, biologists will need ever more robust methods to estimate extinction risk. Unfortunately, field biologists typically can't generate the large, high-quality datasets that led to the precise predictions reported here. Conservation efforts will depend on developing methods of generating reliable predictions with the limited data available from the field.

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Citation: Drake JM (2005) Density-dependent demographic variation determines extinction rate of experimental populations. PLoS Biol 3(7): e222.


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Source:Public Library of Science


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