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Monitoring dynamic spatio-temporal ecological processes optimally

January 25, 2018

Population dynamics vary in space and time. Survey designs that ignore these dynamics may be inefficient and fail to capture essential spatio‐temporal variability of a process. Alternatively, dynamic survey designs explicitly incorporate knowledge of ecological processes, the associated uncertainty in those processes, and can be optimized with respect to monitoring objectives. We describe a cohesive framework for monitoring a spreading population that explicitly links animal movement models with survey design and monitoring objectives. We apply the framework to develop an optimal survey design for sea otters in Glacier Bay. Sea otters were first detected in Glacier Bay in 1988 and have since increased in both abundance and distribution; abundance estimates increased from 5 otters to >5,000 otters, and they have spread faster than 2.7 km/yr. By explicitly linking animal movement models and survey design, we are able to reduce uncertainty associated with forecasting occupancy, abundance, and distribution compared to other potential random designs. The framework we describe is general, and we outline steps to applying it to novel systems and taxa.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Monitoring dynamic spatio-temporal ecological processes optimally
DOI 10.1002/ecy.2120
Authors Perry J. Williams, Mevin Hooten, Jamie N. Womble, George G. Esslinger, Michael R. Bower
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecology
Series Number
Index ID 70198741
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle