Marine biologists often use the capture-recapture method as a way to estimate the size of a population,
Marine biologists often use the capture-recapture method as a way to estimate the size of a population, such as the number of fish in a lake. This method involves capturing a sample from the population, tagging each member in the sample, then returning it to the population. A second sample is later captured, and the tagged members are counted along with the total size of this second sample. The results can be used to estimate the size of the population.
Instead of capturing real fish, simulate the procedure using some uniform collection of items such as colored beads, M&Ms, or index cards. Start with a large collection of at least 200 of such items. Collect a sample of 50 and use a marker to “tag” each one. Replace the tagged items, mix the whole population, then select a second sample and proceed to estimate the population size. Compare the result to the actual population size obtained by counting all of the items.
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