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Life-history implications of large-scale spatial variation in adult survival of black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans)

January 1, 2002

We used capture-recapture methods to estimate adult survival rates for adult female Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans; hereafter “brant”) from three colonies in Alaska, two on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and one on Alaska's Arctic coast. Costs of migration and reproductive effort varied among those colonies, enabling us to examine variation in survival in relation to variation in these other variables. We used the Barker model in program MARK to estimate true annual survival for brant from the three colonies. Models allowing for spatial variation in survival were among the most parsimonious models but were indistinguishable from a model with no spatial variation. Point estimates of annual survival were slightly higher for brant from the Arctic (0.90 ± 0.036) than for brant from either Tutakoke River (0.85 ± 0.004) or Kokechik Bay (0.86 ± 0.011). Thus, our survival estimates do not support a hypothesis that the cost of longer migrations or harvest experienced by brant from the Arctic reduced their annual survival relative to brant from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Spatial variation in survival provides weak support for life-history theory because brant from the region with lower reproductive investment had slightly higher survival.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2002
Title Life-history implications of large-scale spatial variation in adult survival of black brant (<i>Branta bernicla nigricans</i>)
DOI 10.1642/0004-8038(2002)119[0510:LHIOLS]2.0.CO;2
Authors James S. Sedinger, Nathan Chelgren, Mark S. Lindberg, Tim Obritchkewitch, Morgan T. Kirk, Philip D. Martin, Betty A. Anderson, David H. Ward
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title The Auk
Series Number
Index ID 70185187
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center