New Paper: Analyzing Viability for Multiple Populations

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New Paper: Analyzing Viability for Multiple Populations

The Lahontan cutthroat trout exists in many small populations, some of which are only occasionally surveyed. Image: Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Comm

A paper co-authored by RBC staff will appear in the December 2017 issue of the journal Biological Conservation. In this study, researchers aim to make population viability predictions easier by creating a model for multiple population viability analysis (MPVA).  Conventional population viability analyses (PVA) require much data in order to make predictions and study only one population at a time. The MPVA model looks at many populations at once and can borrow information from data-rich populations to supplement data-poor ones.  The researchers find that the MPVA model is comparable to the PVA model in bias and higher in precision.  They also illustrate the model by applying it to a set of Lahontan cutthroat trout populations that vary in their available data.

The ability to predict population viability is important to decision-makers because conservation funds are limited and more effective conservation efforts can be made if funds go to manage populations that are likely to recover.  However, it is often impractical in reality to meet the high data requirements of PVA models.  The MPVA model allows for predictions to be made about multiple populations with less data so decision makers can become more informed.

This paper is co-authored by RBC staff Seth Wenger and Douglas Leasure.  It is published in the December 2017 issue of Biological Conservation and is available to read via Science Direct.

Posted: 11/06/2017     Text: Annabelle Barr