Comparison of population reconstruction methods using age-at-harvest data and catch effort
LE3 .A278 2012
Master of Science
Mathematics and Statistics
Mathematics & Statistics
Hunting and trapping are long standing traditions in Nova Scotia. Harvest of furbear-ers is regulated by the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and harvest data has been collected by the department since the 1980s. This practice has resulted in a wealth of information, which can be used to gain information about the populations of harvested species in the province. Aiming at providing wildlife man-agers applicable population reconstruction approaches and improving data collection for all harvested wildlife in the future, we considered Downing’s reconstruction (Down-ing, 1980), catch effort approaches (Seber, 1973; Paloheimo, 1980; Dupont, 1983), and the Leslie matrix model (Caswell, 2001). In this thesis, background information and methodologies were described, computer simulations were utilized to evaluate the performances of methods, and model implementations were illustrated using a real furbearer harvest dataset (Skalski, 2011). Our simulation results indicate that Down-ing’s reconstruction is suitable only for estimating the population growth rate, while the linear catch effort method is suitable only for estimating the catchability coeffi-cient. The Leslie matrix model can be utilized for population reconstruction only if the initial population sizes are reconstructed accurately and exact survival rates and fecundity rates are available. Finally the stochastic catch effort method appears to be the most effective method overall that can be applied by wildlife managers.
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