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Juneau Fisheries Seminar – P. Williams: “Modeling and monitoring sea otters in Glacier Bay”

September 15, 2017 @ 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

UAF College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences, Fisheries Department Seminar:

“Modeling and monitoring sea otters in Glacier Bay” presented by Perry Williams, Colorado State University.

ABSTRACT: Ecological invasions and colonizations occur dynamically through space and time. Estimating the distribution and abundance of a spreading population is critical for efficient management or conservation. We describe a dynamic spatio-temporal statistical model for simultaneously estimating occupancy and abundance of a spreading population. Our method accounts for several issues that are common when modeling spatio-temporal ecological data including: multiple levels of detection probability, multiple data sources, and computational limitations that occur when making fine-scale inference over a large spatio-temporal domain. We then describe a cohesive framework for monitoring a spreading population that explicitly links our model of population spread with survey design and monitoring objectives. We apply the framework to develop an optimal survey design for sea otters in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Sea otters were first detected in Glacier Bay in 1988 and have since increased in both abundance and distribution; abundance estimates increased from 5 otters to >5,000 otters, and they have spread faster than 2.7 km per year. By explicitly linking animal movement models and survey design, we were able to reduce uncertainty associated with predicted abundance, and distribution. The framework we describe is general, and can be applied to novel systems and taxa.

Contact: Gabrielle Hazelton, gdhazelton@alaska.edu


September 15, 2017
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
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