Integrating broad‐scale data to assess demographic and climatic contributions to population change in a declining songbird

Ecology and Evolution
By:  and 



Climate variation and trends affect species distribution and abundance across large spatial extents. However, most studies that predict species response to climate are implemented at small spatial scales or are based on occurrence‐environment relationships that lack mechanistic detail. Here, we develop an integrated population model (IPM) for multi‐site count and capture‐recapture data for a declining migratory songbird, Wilson's warbler (Cardellina pusilla), in three genetically distinct breeding populations in western North America. We include climate covariates of vital rates, including spring temperatures on the breeding grounds, drought on the wintering range in northwest Mexico, and wind conditions during spring migration. Spring temperatures were positively related to productivity in Sierra Nevada and Pacific Northwest genetic groups, and annual changes in productivity were important predictors of changes in growth rate in these populations. Drought condition on the wintering grounds was a strong predictor of adult survival for coastal California and Sierra Nevada populations; however, adult survival played a relatively minor role in explaining annual variation in population change. A latent parameter representing a mixture of first‐year survival and immigration was the largest contributor to variation in population change; however, this parameter was estimated imprecisely, and its importance likely reflects, in part, differences in spatio‐temporal distribution of samples between count and capture‐recapture data sets. Our modeling approach represents a novel and flexible framework for linking broad‐scale multi‐site monitoring data sets. Our results highlight both the potential of the approach for extension to additional species and systems, as well as needs for additional data and/or model development.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Integrating broad‐scale data to assess demographic and climatic contributions to population change in a declining songbird
Series title Ecology and Evolution
DOI 10.1002/ece3.5975
Volume 10
Issue 4
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, National Climate Adaptation Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 1804
Last page 1816
Country Canada, Mexico, United States
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