Understanding how population dynamics change over time is critical to many practical problems as pest control, endangered species protection etc. Teaching population ecology is not easy since data is usually collected over a very long period. This paper discusses a specific tiger population case study relating to growth rate predictions using an online virtual lab. Studying tiger populations and introduction of such data in classrooms help in creating awareness and support new pedagogies to estimate animal population dynamics. We have used online virtual labs which are ready-made tools to perform simple experiments and analysis. An important and usually complex case of population analysis as in tiger populations in India is studied in this paper. Although some major parameters like food, transient movement, and ecosystem details have been ignored, predicted data for tiger population follows closely to actual data for previous years and even predicts the growth rate with a small standard deviation of 10%. Our results with tiger populations come close to the actual census values. We propose the use of simple mathematical models to make assessment of transient animal populations such as tigers, and sharks. Also use of such ready-made pro-academic online tools encourages new studies and an enhanced pedagogy to population ecology for mathematicians, biotechnologists, wildlife institute personnel among many other cross-disciplinary scientists. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.
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Ha Parasuram, Dr. Bipin G. Nair, Dr. Krishnashree Achuthan, and Dr. Shyam Diwakar, “Taking project tiger to the classroom: A virtual lab case study”, Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol. 191 CCIS, pp. 337-348, 2011.