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- Estimation of population size and trends for highly mobile species with dynamic spatial distributions
- Aim: To develop a more ecologically realistic approach for estimating the population size of cetaceans and other highly mobile species with dynamic spatial distributions. Location: California Current Ecosystem, USA. Methods: Conventional spatial density models assume a constant relationship between densities and habitat covariates over some time period, typically a survey season. The estimated population size must change whenever total habitat availability changes. For highly mobile long-lived species, however, density–habitat relationships likely adjust more rapidly than population size. We developed an integrated population-redistribution model based on a more ecologically plausible alternative hypothesis: (1) population size is effectively constant over each survey season; (2) if habitat availability changes, then the population redistributes itself following an ideal free distribution process. Thus, the estimated relationship between densities and habitat covariates adjusts rather than population size. We constructed Bayesian hierarchical models corresponding to the conventional and alternative hypotheses and applied them to distance sampling data for Dall's porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli), a highly mobile cetacean with distribution patterns closely tied to cool sea-surface temperatures. Results: The Dall's porpoise data provided strong support for the hypothesis based on an ideal free redistribution process. Our results indicate that the population size of Dall's porpoise within the survey region was relatively stable over each summer/fall survey season, but the distribution expanded and contracted with the extent of suitable habitat. Over multiple survey seasons, the model partitioned variation in observed densities among three sources: variation in population size, the density–habitat relationship and measurement error, leading to lower and more ecologically plausible estimates of interannual variation in population size. Main conclusions: We conclude that the integrated population-redistribution model (IPRM) presented here represents an ecologically plausible model for use in future assessments of the population size and dynamics of cetaceans and other highly mobile long-lived species with variable spatial distributions.
- Boyd, Barlow, Becker, Forney, Gerrodette, Moore, Punt
- Geography and stage of development affect persistent organic pollutants in stranded and wild-caught harbor seal pups from central California,
- Persistent organic pollutants have been associated with disease susceptibility and decreased immunity in marine mammals. Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its metabolites (DDTs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), chlordanes (CHLDs), and hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (HCHs) were evaluated in terms of stage of development and likely exposure routes (in utero, suckling, fasting) in the blubber of 202 stranded and wild-caught, primarily young of the year (n = 177), harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) in the central California coast. This is the first report of HCH concentrations in the blubber of California seals. Lipid normalized concentrations ranged from 200 to 330,000. ng/g for sum PCBs, 320-1,500,000. ng/g for sum DDTs, 23-63,000. ng/g for sum PBDEs, 29-29,000. ng/g for sum CHLDs, and 2-780. ng/g for sum HCHs. The highest concentrations were observed in harbor seal pups that suckled in the wild and then lost mass during the post-weaning fast. Among the pups sampled in the wild and those released from rehabilitation, there were no differences in mass, blubber depth, or percent lipid although contaminant concentrations were significantly higher in the pups which nursed in the wild. When geographic differences were evaluated in a subset of newborn animals collected near their birth locations, the ratio of sum DDTs to sum PCBs was significantly greater in samples from an area with agricultural inputs (Monterey), than one with industrial inputs (San Francisco Bay). A principal components analysis distinguished between seals from San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay based on specific PCB and PBDE congeners and DDT metabolites. These data illustrate the important influence of life stage, nutritional status, and location on blubber contaminant levels, and thus the need to consider these factors when interpreting single sample measurements in marine mammals. © 2011 Elsevier B.V., Cited By (since 1996):6, CODEN: STEVA, ,
- Greig, Ylitalo, Wheeler, Boyd, Gulland, Yanagida, Harvey, Hall