Realized fecundity and survival rates change as organisms age. Matrix models separate populations into different age classes with each age class having the potential to possess different fecundity and survival rates. Matrix models are similar to compartment models, but matrix models are almost exclusively solved using linear algebra. The importance of specific population parameters for certain age classes can be tested using matrix models by investigating the sensitivity of the model to variations in parameter values for each age class. This is important for informing management decisions for target species, in particular, threatened and endangered species.
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