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Product No. HiMAP Pull-Out Supplementary Print Price: FREE with membership

Modeling the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Population

Marsha Davis

Mathematics Topic:
Application Areas:
Students should be familiar with exponential functions and logarithms. They should know the basic laws (or rules) of exponents (listed in the Teacher Notes for Activity 1). In addition, students should be able to express an exponential function.

| ©2010 by COMAP, Inc. | Consortium 99 | 12 pages |

This pullout focuses on modeling the rise and fall of the population of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the smallest and most endangered sea turtle. Activity 1 provides mathematical preparation for the exponential models that students develop in Activities 2 and 3. In Activity 2, students create models to predict the size of the female nesting population at Rancho Nuevo, Mexico (the primary nesting site) based on data from two time periods, 1947–1986 and 1978–1985. They use these models to predict the year in which the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles would face extinction if no outside forces intervened to change the declining trend in population. Activity 3 provides a more optimistic picture for the turtle due, in part, to a regulation requiring the use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) on shrimp trawlers.