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Comparison of indices to infer population dynamics of black brant

May 20, 2022

To aid managers in assessing status of Pacific black brant Branta bernicla nigricans (hereafter brant), I examined pre-existing long-term data series from summer, fall staging, and wintering areas to infer overall population processes and assessed the utility of the various data sources. Variation in demographic parameters measured in subarctic and Arctic locations suggests some form of metapopulation structure likely exists for brant. I used serial autocorrelation coefficients to assess the ability of various indices to track population processes. Based on this approach, the Lincoln–Petersen estimator and the fall aerial survey estimate partitioned using age ratios of staging brant at Izembek Lagoon, Alaska, appear to be the best indicators. However, these two indexes show different trends for the overall brant population. The Lincoln–Petersen estimates showed biologically implausible changes in size among sequential years, whereas the fall Izembek index did not. Annual estimates of survival and productivity fit the patterns of annual variation in the fall Izembek index better than the Lincoln–Petersen estimates. I conclude that the fall age–partitioned Izembek Lagoon index appears to be the best for tracking population processes in brant.

Publication Year 2022
Title Comparison of indices to infer population dynamics of black brant
DOI 10.3996/JFWM-21-088
Authors Paul L. Flint
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
Index ID 70233420
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB