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Sarah J. Converse

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Anthropogenic changes in climate and land use are driving changes in migration patterns of birds worldwide. Spatial changes in migration have been related to long-term temperature trends, but the intrinsic mechanisms by which migratory species adapt to environmental change remain largely unexplored. We show that, for a long-lived social species, older birds with more experience are critical for innovating new migration behaviours. Groups containing older, more experienced individuals establish new overwintering sites closer to the breeding grounds, leading to a rapid population-level shift in migration patterns. Furthermore, these new overwintering sites are in areas where changes in climate have increased temperatures...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Changes in the abundance and distribution of wildlife populations are common consequences of historic and contemporary climate change. Some Arctic marine mammals, such as the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), may be particularly vulnerable to such changes due to the loss of Arctic sea ice. We evaluated the impacts of environmental variation on demographic rates for the Western Hudson Bay (WH), polar bear subpopulation from 1984 to 2011 using live-recapture and dead-recovery data in a Bayesian implementation of multistate capture–recapture models. We found that survival of female polar bears was related to the annual timing of sea ice break-up and formation. Using estimated vital rates (e.g., survival and reproduction)...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Detecting individuals of amphibian and reptile species can be a daunting task. Detection can be hindered by various factors such as cryptic behavior, color patterns, or observer experience. These factors complicate the estimation of state variables of interest (e.g., abundance, occupancy, species richness) as well as the vital rates that induce changes in these state variables (e.g., survival probabilities for abundance; extinction probabilities for occupancy). Although ad hoc methods (e.g., counts uncorrected for detection, return rates) typically perform poorly in the face of no detection, they continue to be used extensively in various fields, including herpetology. However, formal approaches that estimate and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Herpetology
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The reintroduction of threatened and endangered species is now a common method for reestablishing populations. Typically, a fundamental objective of reintroduction is to establish a self-sustaining population. Estimation of demographic parameters in reintroduced populations is critical, as these estimates serve multiple purposes. First, they support evaluation of progress toward the fundamental objective via construction of population viability analyses (PVAs) to predict metrics such as probability of persistence. Second, PVAs can be expanded to support evaluation of management actions, via management modeling. Third, the estimates themselves can support evaluation of the demographic performance of the reintroduced...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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We present a novel formulation of a mark–recapture–resight model that allows estimation of population size, stopover duration, and arrival and departure schedules at migration areas. Estimation is based on encounter histories of uniquely marked individuals and relative counts of marked and unmarked animals. We use a Bayesian analysis of a state–space formulation of the Jolly–Seber mark–recapture model, integrated with a binomial model for counts of unmarked animals, to derive estimates of population size and arrival and departure probabilities. We also provide a novel estimator for stopover duration that is derived from the latent state variable representing the interim between arrival and departure in the state–space...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biometrics
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