Data integration methods for studying animal population dynamics
In this thesis, we develop new data integration methods to better understand animal population dynamics. In a first project, we study the problem of integrating aerial and access data from aerial-access creel surveys to estimate angling effort, catch and harvest. We propose new estimation methods, study their statistical properties theoretically and conduct a simulation study to compare their performance. We apply our methods to data from an annual Kootenay Lake (Canada) survey.
In a second project, we present a new Bayesian modeling approach to integrate capture-recapture data with other sources of data without relying on the usual independence assumption. We use a simulation study to compare, under various scenarios, our approach with the usual approach of simply multiplying likelihoods. In the simulation study, the Monte Carlo RMSEs and expected posterior standard deviations obtained with our approach are always smaller than or equal to those obtained with the usual approach of simply multiplying likelihoods. Finally, we compare the performance of the two approaches using real data from a colony of Greater horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) in the Valais, Switzerland.
In a third project, we develop an explicit integrated population model to integrate capture-recapture survey data, dead recovery survey data and snorkel survey data to better understand the movement from the ocean to spawning grounds of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. In addition to providing spawning escapement estimates, the model provides estimates of stream residence time and snorkel survey observer efficiency, which are crucial but currently lacking for the use of the area-under-the-curve method currently used to estimate escapement on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
Keywords: Aerial-access; Capture-recapture; Creel surveys; Independence assumption; Integrated population modeling; Oncorhynchus tshawytscha