A hierarchical model for jointly assessing ecological and anthropogenic impacts on animal demography

Thomas V. Riecke, Benjamin S. Sedinger, Todd W. Arnold, Dan Gibson, David N. Koons, Madeleine G. Lohman, Michael Schaub, Perry J. Williams, James S. Sedinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The management of sustainable harvest of animal populations is of great ecological and conservation importance. Development of formal quantitative tools to estimate and mitigate the impacts of harvest on animal populations has positively impacted conservation efforts. The vast majority of existing harvest models, however, do not simultaneously estimate ecological and harvest impacts on demographic parameters and population trends. Given that the impacts of ecological drivers are often equal to or greater than the effects of harvest, and can covary with harvest, this disconnect has the potential to lead to flawed inference. In this study, we used Bayesian hierarchical models and a 43-year capture–mark–recovery dataset from 404,241 female mallards Anas platyrhynchos released in the North American midcontinent to estimate mallard demographic parameters. Furthermore, we model the dynamics of waterfowl hunters and habitat, and the direct and indirect effects of anthropogenic and ecological processes on mallard demographic parameters. We demonstrate that density dependence, habitat conditions and harvest can simultaneously impact demographic parameters of female mallards, and discuss implications for existing and future harvest management models. Our results demonstrate the importance of controlling for multicollinearity among demographic drivers in harvest management models, and provide evidence for multiple mechanisms that lead to partial compensation of mallard harvest. We provide a novel model structure to assess these relationships that may allow for improved inference and prediction in future iterations of harvest management models across taxa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1612-1626
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume91
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the tens of thousands of waterfowl banders and the millions of waterfowl hunters who contributed to the development of this dataset, the USGS Bird Banding Lab, and the biologists and pilots who conduct the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. T.V.R. and M.G.L. were supported by the Bonnycastle Fellowship in Wetland and Waterfowl Biology from the Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research, Ducks Unlimited Canada. T.V.R. and D.G. were supported by Delta Waterfowl, and T.V.R. and J.S.S. were supported by the National Science Foundation (DEB 1252656). D.N.K. was supported by Delta Waterfowl and the James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair of Wetland & Waterfowl Conservation at Colorado State University. B.S.S. was supported by Delta Waterfowl and the Kennedy-Grohne Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The authors thank Chloé Nater, Guillaume Souchay, Jean-Michel Gaillard, and an anonymous associate editor for their insightful comments and constructive criticism. Open access funding provided by Schweizerische Vogelwarte.

Funding Information:
The authors thank the tens of thousands of waterfowl banders and the millions of waterfowl hunters who contributed to the development of this dataset, the USGS Bird Banding Lab, and the biologists and pilots who conduct the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. T.V.R. and M.G.L. were supported by the Bonnycastle Fellowship in Wetland and Waterfowl Biology from the Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research, Ducks Unlimited Canada. T.V.R. and D.G. were supported by Delta Waterfowl, and T.V.R. and J.S.S. were supported by the National Science Foundation (DEB 1252656). D.N.K. was supported by Delta Waterfowl and the James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair of Wetland & Waterfowl Conservation at Colorado State University. B.S.S. was supported by Delta Waterfowl and the Kennedy‐Grohne Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation at the University of Wisconsin‐Stevens Point. The authors thank Chloé Nater, Guillaume Souchay, Jean‐Michel Gaillard, and an anonymous associate editor for their insightful comments and constructive criticism.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society.

Keywords

  • Anas platyrhynchos
  • Bayesian
  • cause-specific mortality
  • demography
  • harvest
  • hierarchical model
  • mallard
  • multicollinearity
  • survival

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

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