James Nichols, Ph.D.
Dr. Jim Nichols conducts research on animal population dynamics and management
- B.S. Wake Forest University, Biology, 1971
- M.S. Louisiana State University, Wildlife Management, 1973
- Ph.D. Michigan State University, Wildlife Ecology, 1976
Areas of Expertise: Animal population dynamics and management, demographic estimation methods.
- Adaptive management and assessment of habitat changes on migratory birds
- Development of models of mallard population dynamics for adaptive harvest management
- Development of methods to estimate parameters associated with animal population dynamics
- Statistical methods for species richness estimation
- Technical Assistance -Tiger Monitoring and Population Research
- Development of methods for estimating patch occupancy and patch-dynamic parameters from detection-nondetection survey data
- Development of methods to estimate species richness and community-dynamic parameters from species list data
Accomplishments, Awards, & Achievements:
- 2005 - U.S. Presidential Rank Award (Meritorious Senior Professional)
- 2004 - U.S. Geological Survey Meritorious Service Award
- 2004 - IFAS Scholar Award, University of Florida
- 1998 - Promoted to Senior Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey
- 1991 - The George W. Snedecor Award of the American Statistical Association
- 1991 - The Wildlife Society's Wildlife Publication Award for Monograph
- 1984 - Southeastern Section of the Wildlife Society, Outstanding Publication Award
Science and Products
The Challenge: Conservation and management of natural animal populations requires knowledge of their dynamics and associated environmental and management influences. Specifically, informed management requires periodic estimates of system state (e.g., population size) and models for projecting consequences of management actions for subsequent state dynamics. However, it is very difficult to...
The Challenge: A variety of important questions about the conservation and management of natural resources requires information about the spatial distribution of organisms. For species of conservation concern, the size of a species’ range is a criterion used to assign species status as threatened or endangered. For invasive species and disease organisms, the dynamics of the species range ...
The Challenge: Since its inception in 2002 the USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) has taken the lead in monitoring amphibian populations on Department of Interior lands. ARMI scientists work on a broad spectrum of species and management issues to address the core causes of amphibian declines. In many cases, research requires complex study designs and innovative methods. A...
Occupancy in community-level studies
Another type of multi-species studies, are those focused on community-level metrics such as species richness. In this chapter we detail how some of the single-species occupancy models described in earlier chapters have been applied, or extended, for use in such studies, while accounting for imperfect detection. We highlight how Bayesian methods...MacKenzie, Darryl I.; Nichols, James; Royle, Andy; Pollock, Kenneth H.; Bailey, Larissa L.; Hines, James
Strengthening links between waterfowl research and management
Waterfowl monitoring, research, regulation, and adaptive planning are leading the way in supporting science-informed wildlife management. However, increasing societal demands on natural resources have created a greater need for adaptable and successful linkages between waterfowl science and management. We presented a special session at the 2016...Roberts, Anthony J.; Eadie, John M.; Howerter, David; Johnson, Fred A.; Nichols, James; Runge, Michael C.; Vrtiska, Mark; Williams, Byron K.
Are ranger patrols effective in reducing poaching-related threats within protected areas?
Poaching is one of the greatest threats to wildlife conservation world-wide. However, the spatial and temporal patterns of poaching activities within protected areas, and the effectiveness of ranger patrols and ranger posts in mitigating these threats, are relatively unknown.We used 10 years (2006–2015) of ranger-based monitoring data and...Moore, Jennnifer F.; Mulindahabi, Felix; Masozera, Michel K.; Nichols, James; Hines, James; Turikunkiko, Ezechiel; Oli, Madan K.
A new framework for analysing automated acoustic species-detection data: occupancy estimation and optimization of recordings post-processing
The development and use of automated species-detection technologies, such as acoustic recorders, for monitoring wildlife are rapidly expanding. Automated classification algorithms provide a cost- and time-effective means to process information-rich data, but often at the cost of additional detection errors. Appropriate methods are necessary to...Chambert, Thierry A.; Waddle, J. Hardin; Miller, David A.W.; Walls, Susan; Nichols, James D.
Field practices: Assessing tiger population dynamics using photographic captures
From these histories, capture frequency statistics and estimates of capture probabilities can be derived.Karanth, K. Ullas; Nichols, James D.; Harihar, Abishek; Miquelle, Dale; Kumar, N. Samba; Dorazio, Robert
Concepts: Assessing tiger population dynamics using capture–recapture sampling
Capture-recapture can be viewed as an animal survey method in which the count statistic is the total number of animals caught, and the associated detection probability is the probability of capture.Royle, J. Andrew; Gopalaswamy, Arjun M.; Dorazio, Robert; Nichols, James D.; Jathanna, Devcharan; Parameshwaran, Ravishankar
Using optimal transport theory to estimate transition probabilities in metapopulation dynamics
This work considers the estimation of transition probabilities associated with populations moving among multiple spatial locations based on numbers of individuals at each location at two points in time. The problem is generally underdetermined as there exists an extremely large number of ways in which individuals can move from one set of locations...Nichols, Jonathan M.; Spendelow, Jeffrey A.; Nichols, James D.
Evaluation of nutria (Myocastor coypus) detection methods in Maryland, USA
Nutria (Myocaster coypus), invasive, semi-aquatic rodents native to South America, were introduced into Maryland near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (BNWR) in 1943. Irruptive population growth, expansion, and destructive feeding habits resulted in the destruction of thousands of acres of emergent marshes at and surrounding BNWR. In 2002, a...Pepper, Margaret A.; Herrmann, Valentine; Hines, James; Nichols, James D.; Kendrot, Stephen R
Monitoring for the management of disease risk in animal translocation programmes
Monitoring is best viewed as a component of some larger programme focused on science or conservation. The value of monitoring is determined by the extent to which it informs the parent process. Animal translocation programmes are typically designed to augment or establish viable animal populations without changing the local community in any...Nichols, James D.; Hollmen, Tuula E.; Grand, James B.
Roseate Tern breeding dispersal and fidelity: Responses to two newly restored colony sites
We used 22 yr of capture–mark–reencounter (CMR) data collected from 1988 to 2009 on about 12,500 birds at what went from three to five coastal colony sites in Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut, United States, to examine spatial and temporal variation in breeding dispersal/fidelity rates of adult Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii). At the...Spendelow, Jeffrey A.; Monticelli, David; Nichols, James D.; Hines, James; Nisbet, Ian; Cormons, Grace; Hays, Helen; Hatch, Jeremy; Mostello, Carolyn
Estimating indices of range shifts in birds using dynamic models when detection is imperfect
There is intense interest in basic and applied ecology about the effect of global change on current and future species distributions. Projections based on widely used static modeling methods implicitly assume that species are in equilibrium with the environment and that detection during surveys is perfect. We used multiseason correlated detection...Clement, Matthew J.; Hines, James E.; Nichols, James D.; Pardieck, Keith L.; Ziolkowski, David J.
State-dependent resource harvesting with lagged information about system states
Markov decision processes (MDPs), which involve a temporal sequence of actions conditioned on the state of the managed system, are increasingly being applied in natural resource management. This study focuses on the modification of a traditional MDP to account for those cases in which an action must be chosen after a significant time lag in...Johnson, Fred A.; Fackler, Paul L.; Boomer, G Scott; Zimmerman, Guthrie S.; Williams, Byron K.; Nichols, James D.; Dorazio, Robert