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Capture-recapture analysis for estimating manatee reproductive rates

January 1, 2004

Modeling the life history of the endangered Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is an important step toward understanding its population dynamics and predicting its response to management actions. We developed a multi-state markresighting model for data collected under Pollock's robust design. This model estimates breeding probability conditional on a female's breeding state in the previous year; assumes sighting probability depends on breeding state; and corrects for misclassification of a cow with first-year calf, by estimating conditional sighting probability for the calf. The model is also appropriate for estimating survival and unconditional breeding probabilities when the study area is closed to temporary emigration across years. We applied this model to photo-identification data for the Northwest and Atlantic Coast populations of manatees, for years 1982–2000. With rare exceptions, manatees do not reproduce in two consecutive years. For those without a first-year calf in the previous year, the best-fitting model included constant probabilities of producing a calf for the Northwest (0.43, SE = 0.057) and Atlantic (0.38, SE = 0.045) populations. The approach we present to adjust for misclassification of breeding state could be applicable to a large number of marine mammal populations.

Publication Year 2004
Title Capture-recapture analysis for estimating manatee reproductive rates
DOI 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2004.tb01170.x
Authors W. L. Kendall, C.A. Langtimm, C.A. Beck, M.C. Runge
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Mammal Science
Index ID 1008515
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Florida Integrated Science Center