Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The elasticities of long-run population growth rate with respect to vital rates are useful in studying selection on vital rates, and in evaluating management policy that aims to control vital rates. In temporally varying environments, elasticity is often calculated from simulations that assume a probability distribution for the environmental states. Here we develop a method to estimate elasticities directly from demographic data. Using a time-series of demographic matrices and age-structure we construct a consistent statistical estimator of elasticity that converges to the correct limiting value as the sample length increases. We also construct confidence intervals for elasticities from temporal data and suggest tools for testing hypotheses about the strength of selection. We use data on a natural population to show that our method can indeed accurately estimate elasticities using relatively short time series.

Original publication




Journal article


Ecol Lett

Publication Date





806 - 812


Demography, Environment, Longitudinal Studies, Models, Biological, Population Dynamics, Statistics as Topic, Stochastic Processes