An assessment of population size and demographic drivers of the Bearded Vulture using integrated population models

Margalida, Antoni; Jiménez, José; Martínez, José M.; Sesé, José A.; García-Ferré, Diego; Llamas, Alfonso; Razin, Martine; Colomer, MaAngels; Arroyo, Beatriz (2020). An assessment of population size and demographic drivers of the Bearded Vulture using integrated population models. Ecological Monographs, 90(3), e01414. Ecological Society of America 10.1002/ecm.1414

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Conventional approaches for the assessment of population abundance or trends
are usually based on a single source of information, such as counts or changes in demographic parameters. However, these approaches usually neglect some of the information needed to properly understand the population as a whole, such as assessments of the non-breeding proportion of the population and the drivers of population change. The Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus is a threatened species and its Pyrenean population (the largest in Europe) inhabits parts of Spain, Andorra, and France. We developed an Integrated Population Model (IPM)
using data from a long-term study (1987–2016) in the three countries, including capture–mark–recapture of 150 marked individuals, to assess population size and age structure at the whole population scale, and obtain estimates of survival and breeding parameters of this population. The breeding population experienced a geometric mean population increase of 3.3% annually, falling to 2.3% during the last 10 yr. The adult proportion of the population increased with time, from 61% to 73%. There were 365 (95% Bayesian credible interval [BCI]: 354–373) adult breeding birds in 2016, representing 49% of the adult population and 36% of
the total population (estimated at 1,026 individuals, 95% BCI: 937–1,119). The large number of non-breeding adults probably led to higher mean age of first reproduction than previously estimated, and to an estimated 30–35% of territories occupied by polyandrous trios. Population growth rate was positively and strongly correlated with adult survival, which had a much greater effect on population growth than productivity. The effects of subadult and juvenile survival
on population growth were weaker. We found strong evidence for a density-dependent decrease in juvenile survival, productivity and adult survival, leading to reduced population growth with increased population size. Our approach allowed us to identify important conservation issues related to the management of supplementary feeding sites and geographic expansion of this population. Our study supports the use of IPMs as a tool to understand long-lived
species, allowing simultaneous estimates of the non-breeding size of the population (which is critical for understanding population functioning), better estimates of population parameters, and assessment of demographic drivers.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Margalida, Antoni

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

0012-9615

Publisher:

Ecological Society of America

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

14 Apr 2021 09:52

Last Modified:

14 Apr 2021 09:52

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/ecm.1414

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/154253

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/154253

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