A fully-stochasticized, age-structured population model for population viability analysis of fish: Lower Missouri River endangered pallid sturgeon example

Ecological Modelling
By: , and 

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Abstract

We develop a fully-stochasticized, age-structured population model suitable for population viability analysis (PVA) of fish and demonstrate its use with the endangered pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) of the Lower Missouri River as an example. The model incorporates three levels of variance: parameter variance (uncertainty about the value of a parameter itself) applied at the iteration level, temporal variance (uncertainty caused by random environmental fluctuations over time) applied at the time-step level, and implicit individual variance (uncertainty caused by differences between individuals) applied within the time-step level. We found that population dynamics were most sensitive to survival rates, particularly age-2+ survival, and to fecundity-at-length. The inclusion of variance (unpartitioned or partitioned), stocking, or both generally decreased the influence of individual parameters on population growth rate. The partitioning of variance into parameter and temporal components had a strong influence on the importance of individual parameters, uncertainty of model predictions, and quasiextinction risk (i.e., pallid sturgeon population size falling below 50 age-1+ individuals). Our findings show that appropriately applying variance in PVA is important when evaluating the relative importance of parameters, and reinforce the need for better and more precise estimates of crucial life-history parameters for pallid sturgeon.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A fully-stochasticized, age-structured population model for population viability analysis of fish: Lower Missouri River endangered pallid sturgeon example
Series title Ecological Modelling
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.07.019
Volume 359
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Publisher location Amsterdam
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 15 p.
First page 434
Last page 448
Country United States
Other Geospatial Lower Missouri River