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Demographic data used in spatial and temporal drivers of avian population dynamic across the annual cycle. (CSV)

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posted on 2024-05-08, 20:38 authored by Clark S. Rushing, Jeffrey A. Hostetler, T. Scott Sillett, Peter P. Marra, Thomas B. Ryder
Untangling the spatial and temporal processes that influence population dynamics of migratory species is challenging, because changes in abundance are shaped by variation in vital rates across heterogeneous habitats and throughout the annual cycle. We developed a full-annual-cycle, integrated population model and used demographic data collected between 2011 and 2014 in southern Indiana and Belize to estimate stage-specific vital rates of a declining migratory songbird, the Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina). Our primary objective was to understand how spatial and temporal variation in demography contributes to local and regional population growth. Our full-annual-cycle model allowed us to estimate: 1) age-specific, seasonal survival probabilities, including latent survival during both spring and autumn migration, and 2) how the relative contribution of vital rates to population growth differed among habitats. Wood Thrushes in our study populations experienced the lowest apparent survival rates during migration and apparent survival was lower during spring migration than during fall migration. Both mortality and high dispersal likely contributed to low apparent survival during spring migration. Population growth in high-quality habitat was most sensitive to variation in fecundity and apparent survival of juveniles during spring migration, whereas population growth in low-quality sites was most sensitive to adult apparent breeding-season survival. These results elucidate how full-annual-cycle vital rates, particularly apparent survival during migration, interact with spatial variation in habitat quality to influence population dynamics in migratory species.

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    National Zoo and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

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