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We propose a general framework for modeling anuran abundance using data collected from commonly used calling surveys. The data generated from calling surveys are indices of calling intensity (vocalization of males) that do not have a precise link to actual population size and are sensitive to factors that influence anuran behavior. We formulate a model for calling-index data in terms of the maximum potential calling index that could be observed at a site (the 'latent abundance class'), given its underlying breeding population, and we focus attention on estimating the distribution of this latent abundance class. A critical consideration in estimating the latent structure is imperfect detection, which causes the observed...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
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Corn and Muths (2002) describe how seasonal and annual variation in estimated flux of ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation, combined with year-to-year variation in amphibian breeding, phenology, introduces considerable variability in the UV-B exposures to amphibians. The response to our paper by Blaustein et al. (2004) misstates the objective and conclusions of our study, contains other errors of interpretation, and critiques our study for adopting practices that they themselves use. We are confident that an unbiased assessment will show that the conclusions of Corn and Muths (2002) are valid and robust with respect to montane amphibians, and that the criticisms raised by Blaustein et al. (2004) are either invalid or...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
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Distance-sampling methods are commonly used in studies of animal populations to estimate population density. A common objective of such studies is to evaluate the relationship between abundance or density and covariates that describe animal habitat or other environmental influences. However, little attention has been focused on methods of modeling abundance covariate effects in conventional distance-sampling models. In this paper we propose a distance-sampling model that accommodates covariate effects on abundance. The model is based on specification of the distance-sampling likelihood at the level of the sample unit in terms of local abundance (for each sampling unit). This model is augmented with a Poisson regression...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
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Many studies of pond-breeding amphibians involve sampling individuals during migration to and from breeding habitats. Interpreting population processes and dynamics from these studies is difficult because (1) only a proportion of the population is observable each season, while an unknown proportion remains unobservable (e.g., non-breeding adults) and (2) not all observable animals are captured. Imperfect capture probability can be easily accommodated in capture?recapture models, but temporary transitions between observable and unobservable states, often referred to as temporary emigration, is known to cause problems in both open- and closed-population models. We develop a multistate mark?recapture (MSMR) model,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
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Population viability analysis is an important tool for conservation biologists, and matrix models that incorporate stochasticity are commonly used for this purpose. However, stochastic simulations may require assumptions about the distribution of matrix parameters, and modelers often select a statistical distribution that seems reasonable without sufficient data to test its fit. We used data from long-term (5a??10 year) studies with 27 populations of five perennial plant species to compare seven methods of incorporating environmental stochasticity. We estimated stochastic population growth rate (a measure of viability) using a matrix-selection method, in which whole observed matrices were selected at random at each...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
Twelve northern desert shrub communities having the same macroclimate but differing habitats were studies. Arranged in order of decreasing production of live stems plus current growth, the communities were: (1) Sarcobatus vermiculatus (9,172 kg/ha), (2) Grayia spinosa (7,412 kg/ha), (3) Artemisia tridentata (5,474 kg/ha), (4) Chrysothamnus nauseosus (4,836 kg/ha), (5) Atriplex confertifolia (3,194 kg/ha), (6) Eurotia lanata (2,026 kg/ha), (7) Hilaria jamesii-Atriplex confertifolia (1,995 kg/ha), (8) Atriplex corrugata (1,949 kg/ha), (9) Chrysothamnus greenii filifolius (1,866 kg/ha), (10) Atriplex nuttallii (1,309 kg/ha), (11) Elymus salinus (865 kg/ha), and (12) Tetradymia spinosa (564 kg/ha). The communities were...
Past studies of plant?microbe interactions in the alpine nitrogen cycle have revealed a seasonal separation of N use, with plants absorbing N primarily during the summer months and microbes immobilizing N primarily during the autumn months. On the basis of these studies, it has been concluded that competition for N between plants and microbes is minimized along this seasonal gradient. In this study, we examined more deeply the links between microbial population dynamics and plant N availability in an alpine dry meadow. We conducted a year-round ?eld study and per formed experiments on isolated soil microorganisms. Based on previous work in this ecosystem, we hypothesized that microbial biomass would decline before...
The ecology of nectarivorous microbial communities remains virtually unknown, which precludes elucidating whether these organisms play some role in plant?pollinator mutualisms beyond minor commensalism. We simultaneously assessed microbial abundance and nectar composition at the individual nectary level in flowers of three southern Spanish bumble bee-pollinated plants (Helleborus foetidus, Aquilegia vulgaris, and Aquilegia pyrenaica cazorlensis). Yeasts were frequent and abundant in nectar of all species, and variation in yeast density was correlated with drastic changes in nectar sugar concentration and composition. Yeast communities built up in nectar from early to late floral stages, at which time all nectaries...
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Recurring estimates of the size of animal populations are often required by biologists or wildlife managers. Because of cost or other constraints, estimates frequently lack the accuracy desired but cannot readily be improved by additional sampling. This report proposes a statistical method employing empirical Bayes (EB) estimators as alternatives to those customarily used to estimate population size, and evaluates them by a subsampling experiment on waterfowl surveys. EB estimates, especially a simple limited-translation version, were more accurate and provided shorter confidence intervals with greater coverage probabilities than customary estimates.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
Evidence from woodrat middens and tree rings at Dutch John Mountain (DJM) in northeastern Utah reveal spatiotemporal patterns of pinyon pine (Pinus edulis Engelm.) colonization and expansion in the past millennium. The DJM population, a northern outpost of pinyon, was established by long-distance dispersal (approximately 40 km). Growth of this isolate was markedly episodic and tracked multidecadal variability in precipitation. Initial colonization occurred by AD 1246, but expansion was forestalled by catastrophic drought (1250-1288), which we speculate produced extensive mortality of Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma (Torr.) Little), the dominant tree at DJM for the previous approximately 8700 years. Pinyon then...
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We tested the hypotheses that mass at fledging and fledge date within the breeding season affect postfledging survival in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Nestlings were weighed on day 18 after hatch and tagged with individually identifiable patagial tags. Fledge date was recorded. Marked fledglings were resighted during weekly two-day intensive observation periods for 9 weeks postfledging. Post-fledging survival and sighting probabilities were estimated for each of four groups (early or late fledging by heavy or light fledging mass). Body mass was related to post-fledging survival for birds that fledged early. Results were not clear-cut for relative fledge date, although there was weak evidence that this...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
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Although nonparametric statistical methods have a role to play in the analysis of data, often their virtues are overstated and their deficiencies overlooked. A recent Special Feature in Ecology advocated nonparametric methods because of an erroneously stated advantage that they require no assumptions regarding the distribution underlying the observations. The present paper points out some often—ignored feature of nonparametric tests comparing two means, and advocates parameter estimation as a preferred alternative to hypothesis testing in many situations.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
Total nitrogen incorporated in the shrubs of a low-fertility desert plant community (principally Acacia Gregii, Cassia armata, and Larrea divaricata) was estimated from the nitrogen content of plant parts, the total weight of plants and proportional weight of roots, stems, and leaves, and the number of plants per unit area. The average nitrogen content of shrub leaves, stems, and roots was 1.31%, .87%, and .80%, respectively. Shrub cover occupied 20% of the ground surface and contained an average of 29 kg nitrogen/ha. Legume shrubs were not significantly greater in nitrogen content than nonlegume shrubs. Soil nitrogen content decreased significantly as a function of radial distance from the center of the shrub canopy....
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We undertook a demographic analysis of the Yellowstone grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) to identify critical environmental factors controlling grizzly bear vital rates, and thereby to help evaluate the effectiveness of past management and to identify future conservation issues. We concluded that, within the limits of uncertainty implied by the available data and our methods of data analysis, the size of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population changed little from 1975 to 1995. We found that grizzly bear mortality rates are about double in years when the whitebark pine crop fails than in mast years, and that the population probably declines when the crop fails and increases in mast years. Our model suggests that natural...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
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Perturbation analysis is a powerful tool to study population and community dynamics. This article describes expressions for sensitivity metrics reflecting changes in equilibrium occupancy resulting from small changes in the vital rates of patch occupancy dynamics (i.e., probabilities of local patch colonization and extinction). We illustrate our approach with a case study of occupancy dynamics of Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) nesting territories. Examination of the hypothesis of system equilibrium suggests that the system satisfies equilibrium conditions. Estimates of vital rates obtained using patch occupancy models are used to estimate equilibrium patch occupancy of eagles. We then compute estimates of sensitivity...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology