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Predicting Life-History Traits for Female New Zealand Sea Lions, Phocarctos hookeri: Integrating Short-Term Mark-Recapture Data and Population Modeling

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Abstract

The trade-off between survival and reproduction by individuals is central to understanding life-history parameters of a species. Few mammal species have life-history information from long-term research. Instead, demographic models are commonly utilized to investigate an individual’s life-history strategy, species dynamics, and population trends. This research investigates age-related survival and reproductive performance of adult female New Zealand (NZ) sea lions (Phocarctos hookeri), using multi-state mark-recapture data from known-age branded individuals over five years. The mark-recapture analysis was integrated with a population model to predict the lifetime reproductive output of female NZ sea lions. The integration of an analysis of short-term datasets with population modeling allows for the prediction of life-history parameters of long lived animals when long-term information is not available. While such approaches involve some caveats, it provides a framework for investigating population dynamics and is preferential to unsubstantiated assumptions. This technique can lead to better design and implementation of conservation management for long lived species.

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Correspondence to B. Louise Chilvers.

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Chilvers, B.L., Wilkinson, I.S. & Mackenzie, D.I. Predicting Life-History Traits for Female New Zealand Sea Lions, Phocarctos hookeri: Integrating Short-Term Mark-Recapture Data and Population Modeling. JABES 15, 259–278 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13253-009-0011-0

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