, Volume 152, Issue 2 Supplement, pp 561-572
Date: 24 Apr 2011

Bayesian analysis of multi-state data with individual covariates for estimating genetic effects on demography

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Abstract

Inbreeding depression is frequently a concern of managers interested in restoring endangered species. Decisions to reduce the potential for inbreeding depression by balancing genotypic contributions to reintroduced populations may exact a cost on long-term demographic performance of the population if those decisions result in reduced numbers of animals released and/or restriction of particularly successful genotypes (i.e., heritable traits of particular family lines). As part of an effort to restore a migratory flock of Whooping Cranes (Grus americana) to eastern North America using the offspring of captive breeders, we obtained a unique dataset which includes post-release mark–recapture data, as well as the pedigree of each released individual. We developed a Bayesian formulation of a multi-state model to analyze radio-telemetry, band-resight, and dead recovery data on reintroduced individuals, in order to track survival and breeding state transitions. We used studbook-based individual covariates to examine the comparative evidence for and degree of effects of inbreeding, genotype, and genotype quality on post-release survival of reintroduced individuals. We demonstrate implementation of the Bayesian multi-state model, which allows for the integration of imperfect detection, multiple data types, random effects, and individual- and time-dependent covariates. Our results provide only weak evidence for an effect of the quality of an individual’s genotype in captivity on post-release survival as well as for an effect of inbreeding on post-release survival. We plan to integrate our results into a decision-analytic modeling framework that can explicitly examine tradeoffs between the effects of inbreeding and the effects of genotype and demographic stochasticity on population establishment.

Communicated by W. L. Kendall.