Discrete Time versus Continuous Time Models

Population models can be constructed by assuming discontinuous changes in population size at discrete time intervals, for instance once a year, or continuous temporal changes in population size. Though in reality the sizes of all populations change continuously, the breeding seasons may be so short that a discrete-time model is warranted, particularly if population regulation influences only certain age classes. In discrete-time metapopulation models with population turnover, extinctions and colonizations occur at time intervals that agree with the life history of the species, for example, colonizations follow the season during which migration occurs.

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