Bayesian salamanders: analysing the demography of an underground population of the European plethodontid Speleomantes strinatii with state-space modelling

Lindstrom, J., Reeve, R. and Salvidio, S. (2010) Bayesian salamanders: analysing the demography of an underground population of the European plethodontid Speleomantes strinatii with state-space modelling. BMC Ecology, 10, p. 4. (doi:10.1186/1472-6785-10-4)

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Abstract

<b>Background</b>: It has been suggested that Plethodontid salamanders are excellent candidates for indicating ecosystem health. However, detailed, long-term data sets of their populations are rare, limiting our understanding of the demographic processes underlying their population fluctuations. Here we present a demographic analysis based on a 1996 - 2008 data set on an underground population of Speleomantes strinatii (Aellen) in NW Italy. We utilised a Bayesian state-space approach allowing us to parameterise a stage-structured Lefkovitch model. We used all the available population data from annual temporary removal experiments to provide us with the baseline data on the numbers of juveniles, subadults and adult males and females present at any given time. <b>Results</b>: Sampling the posterior chains of the converged state-space model gives us the likelihood distributions of the state-specific demographic rates and the associated uncertainty of these estimates. Analysing the resulting parameterised Lefkovitch matrices shows that the population growth is very close to 1, and that at population equilibrium we expect half of the individuals present to be adults of reproductive age which is what we also observe in the data. Elasticity analysis shows that adult survival is the key determinant for population growth. <b>Conclusion</b>: This analysis demonstrates how an understanding of population demography can be gained from structured population data even in a case where following marked individuals over their whole lifespan is not practical.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lindstrom, Dr Jan and Reeve, Dr Richard
Authors: Lindstrom, J., Reeve, R., and Salvidio, S.
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:BMC Ecology
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1472-6785
ISSN (Online):1472-6785
Published Online:02 February 2010
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2010 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMC Ecology 10:4
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
437231Predicting immunological cross-reactivity - from genotype to antigenic phenotypeDaniel HaydonBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/E010326/1Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine