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Laurel, MD, United States

Wen Z.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | Pollock K.,Murdoch University | Nichols J.,Patuxent Wildlife Research Center | Waser P.,Purdue University
Biometrics | Year: 2011

Ecologists applying capture-recapture models to animal populations sometimes have access to additional information about individuals' populations of origin (e.g., information about genetics, stable isotopes, etc.). Tests that assign an individual's genotype to its most likely source population are increasingly used. Here we show how to augment a superpopulation capture-recapture model with such information. We consider a single superpopulation model without age structure, and split each entry probability into separate components due to births in situ and immigration. We show that it is possible to estimate these two probabilities separately. We first consider the case of perfect information about population of origin, where we can distinguish individuals born in situ from immigrants with certainty. Then we consider the more realistic case of imperfect information, where we use genetic or other information to assign probabilities to each individual's origin as in situ or outside the population. We use a resampling approach to impute the true population of origin from imperfect assignment information. The integration of data on population of origin with capture-recapture data allows us to determine the contributions of immigration and in situ reproduction to the growth of the population, an issue of importance to ecologists. We illustrate our new models with capture-recapture and genetic assignment data from a population of banner-tailed kangaroo ratsDipodomys spectabilisin Arizona. © 2010, The International Biometric Society.

Miller D.A.,Iowa State University | Miller D.A.,Patuxent Wildlife Research Center | Otis D.L.,Iowa State University
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2010

We examined results from the first national-scale effort to estimate mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) age ratios and developed a simple, efficient, and generalizable methodology for calibrating estimates. Our method predicted age classes of unknown-age wings based on backward projection of molt distributions from fall harvest collections to preseason banding. We estimated 1) the proportion of late-molt individuals in each age class, and 2) the molt rates of juvenile and adult birds. Monte Carlo simulations demonstrated our estimator was minimally biased. We estimated model parameters using 96,811 wings collected from hunters and 42,189 birds banded during preseason from 68 collection blocks in 22 states during the 2005-2007 hunting seasons. We also used estimates to derive a correction factor, based on latitude and longitude of samples, which can be applied to future surveys. We estimated differential vulnerability of age classes to harvest using data from banded birds and applied that to harvest age ratios to estimate population age ratios. Average, uncorrected age ratio of known-age wings for states that allow hunting was 2.25 (SD 0.85) juvenilesadult, and average, corrected ratio was 1.91 (SD 0.68), as determined from harvest age ratios from an independent sample of 41,084 wings collected from random hunters in 2007 and 2008. We used an independent estimate of differential vulnerability to adjust corrected harvest age ratios and estimated the average population age ratio as 1.45 (SD 0.52), a direct measure of recruitment rates. Average annual recruitment rates were highest east of the Mississippi River and in the northwestern United States, with lower rates between. Our results demonstrate a robust methodology for calibrating recruitment estimates for mourning doves and represent the first large-scale estimates of recruitment for the species. Our methods can be used by managers to correct future harvest survey data to generate recruitment estimates for use in formulating harvest management strategies. © 2010 The Wildlife Society.

Chandler R.B.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Chandler R.B.,Patuxent Wildlife Research Center | King D.I.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Raudales R.,University of Massachusetts Lowell | And 3 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2013

Two contrasting strategies have been proposed for conserving biological diversity while meeting the increasing demand for agricultural products: land sparing and land sharing production systems. Land sparing involves increasing yield to reduce the amount of land needed for agriculture, whereas land-sharing agricultural practices incorporate elements of native ecosystems into the production system itself. Although the conservation value of these systems has been extensively debated, empirical studies are lacking. We compared bird communities in shade coffee, a widely practiced land-sharing system in which shade trees are maintained within the coffee plantation, with bird communities in a novel, small-scale, land-sparing coffee-production system (integrated open canopy or IOC coffee) in which farmers obtain higher yields under little or no shade while conserving an area of forest equal to the area under cultivation. Species richness and diversity of forest-dependent birds were higher in the IOC coffee farms than in the shade coffee farms, and community composition was more similar between IOC coffee and primary forest than between shade coffee and primary forest. Our study represents the first empirical comparison of well-defined land sparing and land sharing production systems. Because IOC coffee farms can be established by allowing forest to regenerate on degraded land, widespread adoption of this system could lead to substantial increases in forest cover and carbon sequestration without compromising agricultural yield or threatening the livelihoods of traditional small farmers. However, we studied small farms (<5 ha); thus, our results may not generalize to large-scale land-sharing systems. Furthermore, rather than concluding that land sparing is generally superior to land sharing, we suggest that the optimal approach depends on the crop, local climate, and existing land-use patterns. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.

Cerezo A.,University of Buenos Aires | Perelman S.,University of Buenos Aires | Perelman S.,CONICET | Robbins C.S.,Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2010

Tropical forest destruction and fragmentation of habitat patches may reduce population persistence at the landscape level. Given the complex nature of simultaneously evaluating the effects of these factors on biotic populations, statistical presence/absence modelling has become an important tool in conservation biology. This study uses logistic regression to evaluate the independent effects of tropical forest cover and fragmentation on bird occurrence in eastern Guatemala. Logistic regression models were constructed for 10 species with varying response to habitat alteration. Predictive variables quantified forest cover, fragmentation and their interaction at three different radii (200, 500 and 1000 m scales) of 112 points where presence of target species was determined. Most species elicited a response to the 1000 m scale, which was greater than most species' reported territory size. Thus, their presence at the landscape scale is probably regulated by extra-territorial phenomena, such as dispersal. Although proportion of forest cover was the most important predictor of species' presence, there was strong evidence of area-independent and -dependent fragmentation effects on species presence, results that contrast with other studies from northernmost latitudes. Species' habitat breadth was positively correlated with AIC model values, indicating a better fit for species more restricted to tropical forest. Species with a narrower habitat breadth also elicited stronger negative responses to forest loss. Habitat breadth is thus a simple measure that can be directly related to species' vulnerability to landscape modification. Model predictive accuracy was acceptable for 4 of 10 species, which were in turn those with narrower habitat breadths. © 2009 Elsevier B.V.

Kirwan M.L.,University of Virginia | Langley J.A.,Villanova University | Guntenspergen G.R.,Patuxent Wildlife Research Center | Megonigal J.P.,Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Biogeosciences | Year: 2013

The balance between organic matter production and decay determines how fast coastal wetlands accumulate soil organic matter. Despite the importance of soil organic matter accumulation rates in influencing marsh elevation and resistance to sea-level rise, relatively little is known about how decomposition rates will respond to sea-level rise. Here, we estimate the sensitivity of decomposition to flooding by measuring rates of decay in 87 bags filled with milled sedge peat, including soil organic matter, roots and rhizomes. Experiments were located in field-based mesocosms along 3 mesohaline tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Mesocosm elevations were manipulated to influence the duration of tidal inundation. Although we found no significant influence of inundation on decay rate when bags from all study sites were analyzed together, decay rates at two of the sites increased with greater flooding. These findings suggest that flooding may enhance organic matter decay rates even in water-logged soils, but that the overall influence of flooding is minor. Our experiments suggest that sea-level rise will not accelerate rates of peat accumulation by slowing the rate of soil organic matter decay. Consequently, marshes will require enhanced organic matter productivity or mineral sediment deposition to survive accelerating sea-level rise. © 2013 Author(s).

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