Predict the Population of PuffinsDate: 09/28/2002 at 09:42:05 From: John Dyson Subject: Predicting Population by Tagging and Spotting Scientists were studying the population of puffins in Alaska. They spotted and tagged 52 puffins in December. Two months later, they spotted 50 puffins. Of those 50 puffins, 3/10 of them had been tagged in December. Predict the population of puffins in Alaska. A. 52 puffins B. 100 puffins C. 173 puffins D. 200 puffins Date: 09/28/2002 at 16:46:31 From: Doctor Anthony Subject: Re: Predicting Population by Tagging and Spotting Suppose there are N puffins in Alaska. You tag 52 of them, so there are now 52 puffins with tags and N-52 without tags. You then return and catch 50 more puffins. 15 are found to have tags and 35 without tags. The probability of this event is C(52,15) x C(N-52,35) ----------------------- C(N,50) We choose the value of N which makes this probability a maximum. We require the probability with N puffins to be greater than the probability with N-1 puffins. So this gives C(52,15) x C(N-52,35) C(52,15) x C(N-53,35) ------------------------ > --------------------- C(N,50) C(N-1,50) cancelling C(52,15) from each side this reduces to (N-52)!/[35!(N-87)!] (N-53)!/[35!(N-88)!] ------------------------ > ------------------------ N!/[50!(N-50)!] (N-1)!/[50!(N-51)!] cancelling as much as we can from one side with the corresponding term on the other side we get: (N-52)/(N-87) ---------------- > 1 N/(N-50) (N-52)/(N-87) > N/(N-50) (N-52)(N-50) > N(N-87) N^2 - 102N + 2600 > N^2 - 87N 2600 > 15N and so N < 2600/15 = 173.33 Similarly, comparing N with N+1 puffins in Alaska you will find that probabilities increase while N < 174 and then decrease again, so that the optimum value is 173. So the probability of getting the second catch that they did is a maximum if N is 173. This is answer C in the options available. - Doctor Anthony, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ Date: 09/28/2002 at 18:42:38 From: John Dyson Subject: Thank you (Predicting Population by Tagging and Spotting) I am most appreciative for your prompt attention to my problem. This was a question on a quiz for my Grade 8 math students and although I guessed the correct answer, I was unable to offer an explanation. Many thanks! |
Search the Dr. Math Library: |
[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]
Ask Dr. Math^{TM}
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/