Analysing Ecological Data

Part of the series Statistics for Biology and Health pp 615-631

Time series analysis of Hawaiian waterbirds

  • Reed J. M. Affiliated withDepartment of Biology, Tufts University
  • , Elphick C. S. Affiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut
  • , Zuur A. F. Affiliated withHighland Statistics LTD.
  • , Ieno E. N. Affiliated withHighland Statistics LTD.
  • , Smith G. M. Affiliated withSchool of Science and Environment, Bath Spa University

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Surveys to monitor changes in population size over time are of interest for a variety of research questions and management goals. For example, population biologists require survey data collected over time to test hypotheses concerning the patterns and mechanisms of population regulation or to evaluate the effects on population size of interactions caused by competition and predation. Resource managers use changes in population size to (i) evaluate the effectiveness of management actions that are designed to increase or decrease numbers, (ii) monitor changes in indicator species, and (iii) quantify the effects of environmental change. Monitoring population size over time is particularly important to species conservation, where population decline is one key to identifying species that are at risk of extinction.