ISSN: 1578-665X | e-ISSN: 2014-928X An international journal devoted to the study and conservation of animal biodiversity, open-access, free for authors, driven by a fast-paced editorial process that includes assessment by experts. It is published twice a year.

Evaluation of ultrastructure and random effects band recovery models for estimating relationships between survival and harvest rates in exploited populations

Otis, D. L.  White, G. C. 

Abstract

Increased population survival rate after an episode of seasonal exploitation is considered a type of compensatory population response. Lack of an increase is interpreted as evidence that exploitation results in added annual mortality in the population. Despite its importance to management of exploited species, there are limited statistical techniques for comparing relative support for these two alternative models. For exploited bird species, the most common technique is to use a fixed effect, deterministic ultrastructure model incorporated into band recovery models to estimate the relationship between harvest and survival rate. We present a new likelihood-based technique within a framework that assumes that survival and harvest are random effects that covary through time. We conducted a Monte Carlo simulation study under this framework to evaluate the performance of these two techniques. The ultrastructure models performed poorly in all simulated scenarios, due mainly to pathological distributional properties. The random effects estimators and their associated estimators of precision had relatively small negative bias under most scenarios, and profile likelihood intervals achieved nominal coverage. We suggest that the random effects estimation method approach has many advantages compared to the ultrastructure models, and that evaluation of robustness and generalization to more complex population structures are topics for additional research.

Key words

Compensatory mortality, Exploitation, Band recovery, Ultrastructure model, Random effects

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