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We modelled postfledging survival and age-specific breeding probabilities in endangered Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) at Falkner Island, Connecticut, USA using capture-recapture data from 1988-1998 of birds ringed as chicks and as adults. While no individuals bred as 2-year-olds during this period, about three-quarters of the young that survived and returned as 3-year-olds nested, and virtually all surviving birds had begun breeding by the time they reached 5 years of age. We found no evidence of temporal variation age of first breeding of birds from different cohorts. There was significant temporal variation in the annual survival of adults and the survival over the typical 3-year maturation period of prebreeding...
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In 1966-1971, eastern US states with hunting seasons on mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) participated in a study designed to estimate the effects of bag limit increases on population survival rates. More than 400 000 adult and juvenile birds were banded and released during this period, and subsequent harvest and return of bands, together with total harvest estimates from mail and telephone surveys of hunters, provided the database for analysis. The original analysis used an ANOVA framework, and resulted in inferences of no effect of bag limit increase on population parameters (Hayne 1975). We used a logistic regression analysis to infer that the bag limit increase did not cause a biologically significant increase...
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Fitness is the currency of natural selection, a measure of the propagation rate of genotypes into future generations. Its various definitions have the common feature that they are functions of survival and fertility rates. At the individual level, the operative level for natural selection, these rates must be understood as latent features, genetically determined propensities existing at birth. This conception of rates requires that individual fitness be defined and estimated by consideration of the individual in a modelled relation to a group of similar individuals; the only alternative is to consider a sample of size one, unless a clone of identical individuals is available. We present hierarchical models describing...
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Survival models assume that fates of individuals are independent, yet the robustness of this assumption has been poorly quantified. We examine how empirically derived estimates of the variance of survival rates are affected by dependency in survival probability among individuals. We used Monte Carlo simulations to generate known amounts of dependency among pairs of individuals and analyzed these data with Kaplan-Meier and Cormack-Jolly-Seber models. Dependency significantly increased these empirical variances as compared to theoretically derived estimates of variance from the same populations. Using resighting data from 168 pairs of black brant, we used a resampling procedure and program RELEASE to estimate empirical...
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The rate of population growth (lambda) is an important demographic parameter used to assess the viability of a population and to develop management and conservation agendas. We examined the use of resighting data to estimate lambda for the snail kite population in Florida from 1997-2000. The analyses consisted of (1) a robust design approach that derives an estimate of lambda from estimates of population size and (2) the Pradel (1996) temporal symmetry (TSM) approach that directly estimates lambda using an open-population capture-recapture model. Besides resighting data, both approaches required information on the number of unmarked individuals that were sighted during the sampling periods. The point estimates of...
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We first consider the estimation of the finite rate of population increase or population growth rate, u i , using capture-recapture data from open populations. We review estimation and modelling of u i under three main approaches to modelling openpopulation data: the classic approach of Jolly (1965) and Seber (1965), the superpopulation approach of Crosbie & Manly (1985) and Schwarz & Arnason (1996), and the temporal symmetry approach of Pradel (1996). Next, we consider the contributions of different demographic components to u i using a probabilistic approach based on the composition of the population at time i + 1 (Nichols et al., 2000b). The parameters of interest are identical to the seniority parameters, n...
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Existing models for ring recovery and recapture data analysis treat temporal variations in annual survival probability (S) as fixed effects. Often there is no explainable structure to the temporal variation in S1,..., Sk; random effects can then be a useful model: Si = E(S) + ??i. Here, the temporal variation in survival probability is treated as random with average value E(??2) = ??2. This random effects model can now be fit in program MARK. Resultant inferences include point and interval estimation for process variation, ??2, estimation of E(S) and var (E??(S)) where the latter includes a component for ??2 as well as the traditional component for v??ar(S??\S??). Furthermore, the random effects model leads to shrinkage...
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Pradel's (1996) temporal symmetry model permitting direct estimation and modelling of population growth rate, u i , provides a potentially useful tool for the study of population dynamics using marked animals. Because of its recent publication date, the approach has not seen much use, and there have been virtually no investigations directed at robustness of the resulting estimators. Here we consider several potential sources of bias, all motivated by specific uses of this estimation approach. We consider sampling situations in which the study area expands with time and present an analytic expression for the bias in u i We next consider trap response in capture probabilities and heterogeneous capture probabilities...
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Evolutionary ecology is the study of evolutionary processes, and the ecological conditions that influence them. A fundamental paradigm underlying the study of evolution is natural selection. Although there are a variety of operational definitions for natural selection in the literature, perhaps the most general one is that which characterizes selection as the process whereby heritable variation in fitness associated with variation in one or more phenotypic traits leads to intergenerational change in the frequency distribution of those traits. The past 20 years have witnessed a marked increase in the precision and reliability of our ability to estimate one or more components of fitness and characterize natural selection...
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We investigated CART performance with a unimodal response curve for one continuous response and four continuous explanatory variables, where two variables were important (ie directly related to the response) and the other two were not. We explored performance under three relationship strengths and two explanatory variable conditions: equal importance and one variable four times as important as the other. We compared CART variable selection performance using three tree-selection rules ('minimum risk', 'minimum risk complexity', 'one standard error') to stepwise polynomial ordinary least squares (OLS) under four sample size conditions. The one-standard-error and minimum-risk-complexity methods performed about as well...
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We developed models for the analysis of recapture data for 2678 serins (Serinus serinus) ringed in north-eastern Spain since 1985. We investigated several time- and individual-specific factors as potential predictors of overall mortality and dispersal patterns, and of gender and age differences in these patterns. Time-specific covariates included minimum daily temperature, days below freezing, and abundance of a strong competitor, siskins (Carduelis spinus) during winter, and maximum temperature and rainfall during summer. Individual covariates included body mass (i.e. body condition), and wing length (i.e. flying ability), and interactions between body mass and environmental factors. We found little support of...
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We modeled postfledging survival and age-specific breeding probabilities in endangered Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) at Falkner Island, Connecticut, USA using capture-recapture data from 1988-1998 of birds ringed as chicks and as adults. While no individuals bred as 2-yr-olds during this period, about three-quarters of the young that survived and returned as 3-yr-olds nested, and virtually all surviving birds had begun breeding by the time they reached 5 years of age. We found no evidence of temporal variation in age of first breeding of birds from different cohorts. There was significant temporal variation in the annual survival of adults and the survival over the typical 3-yr maturation period of prebreeding...