Predicting population change from models based on habitat availability and utilization

Matthiopoulos, J. , Field, C. and MacLeod, R. (2019) Predicting population change from models based on habitat availability and utilization. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 286, 20182911. (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2018.2911) (PMID:30991925) (PMCID:PMC6501931)

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Abstract

The need to understand the impacts of land management for conservation, agriculture and disease prevention are driving demand for new predictive ecology approaches that can reliably forecast future changes in population size. Currently, although the link between habitat composition and animal population dynamics is undisputed, its function has not been quantified in a way that enables accurate prediction of population change in nature. Here, using 12 house sparrow colonies as a proof-of-concept, we apply recent theoretical advances to predict population growth or decline from detailed data on habitat composition and habitat selection. We show, for the first time, that statistical population models using derived covariates constructed from parametric descriptions of habitat composition and habitat selection can explain an impressive 92% of observed population variation. More importantly, they provide excellent predictive power under cross-validation, anticipating 81% of variability in population change. These models may be embedded in readily available generalized linear modelling frameworks, allowing their rapid application to field systems. Furthermore, we use optimization on our sample of sparrow colonies to demonstrate how such models, linking populations to their habitats, permit the design of practical and environmentally sound habitat manipulations for managing populations.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:R.M. was supported by a Royal Society of Edinburgh Scottish Government Research Fellowship
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Field, Mr Christopher and MacLeod, Dr Ross and Matthiopoulos, Professor Jason
Authors: Matthiopoulos, J., Field, C., and MacLeod, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0962-8452
ISSN (Online):1471-2954
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 286:20182911
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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