Comparison of indices to infer population dynamics of black brant

Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management



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 type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Comparison of indices to infer population dynamics of black brant
Series title Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
DOI 10.3996/JFWM-21-088
Volume 13
Issue 2
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB
Description 15 p.
First page 344
Last page 358
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