Visual Basic, Excel-based fish population modeling tool - The pallid sturgeon example

Open-File Report 2016-1009
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
By: , and 



The model presented in this report is a spreadsheet-based model using Visual Basic for Applications within Microsoft Excel ( prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It uses the same model structure and, initially, parameters as used by Wildhaber and others (2015) for pallid sturgeon. The difference between the model structure used for this report and that used by Wildhaber and others (2015) is that variance is not partitioned. For the model of this report, all variance is applied at the iteration and time-step levels of the model. Wildhaber and others (2015) partition variance into parameter variance (uncertainty about the value of a parameter itself) applied at the iteration level and temporal variance (uncertainty caused by random environmental fluctuations with time) applied at the time-step level. They included implicit individual variance (uncertainty caused by differences between individuals) within the time-step level.

The interface developed for the model of this report is designed to allow the user the flexibility to change population model structure and parameter values and uncertainty separately for every component of the model. This flexibility makes the modeling tool potentially applicable to any fish species; however, the flexibility inherent in this modeling tool makes it possible for the user to obtain spurious outputs. The value and reliability of the model outputs are only as good as the model inputs. Using this modeling tool with improper or inaccurate parameter values, or for species for which the structure of the model is inappropriate, could lead to untenable management decisions. By facilitating fish population modeling, this modeling tool allows the user to evaluate a range of management options and implications. The goal of this modeling tool is to be a user-friendly modeling tool for developing fish population models useful to natural resource managers to inform their decision-making processes; however, as with all population models, caution is needed, and a full understanding of the limitations of a model and the veracity of user-supplied parameters should always be considered when using such model output in the management of any species.

Suggested Citation

Moran, E.H., Wildhaber, M.L., Green, N.S., and Albers, J.L., 2016, Visual basic, Excel-based fish population modeling tool—The pallid sturgeon example: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1009, 20 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Modeling Tool Example
  • Modeling Considerations
  • Model Usage
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Visual Basic, Excel-based fish population modeling tool - The pallid sturgeon example
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2016-1009
DOI 10.3133/ofr20161009
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description vi, 20 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details