Population dynamics and viability of the federally listed population of Steller's Eiders
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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For many species, uncertainty may intervene in accurately estimating population size, trend, and demographic parameters. Bayesian state-space models provide a convenient framework to account for multiple sources of uncertainty while remaining flexible to model structure and available data. We explored the efficacy this approach with Sequential Importance Sampling/Resampling for estimation of population size and demographic parameters. We then applied these methods to analyze multiple models of population process for Alaskan breeding Steller’s eiders. Results strongly support that the Alaskan breeding population experiences population level non-breeding, and is open to exchange with the Russian-Pacific breeding population. Using this model of population process, we sought to assess viability of the Alaskan breeding population of Steller’s eiders. Due to immigration, the Alaskan breeding population is under no risk of permanent extinction. However, it is likely that this population will continue to be present in low and highly variable numbers on the breeding grounds in Alaska.