[MARMAM] A new approach to estimate fecundity rate from inter-birth intervals

Monica Arso Civil mac64 at st-andrews.ac.uk
Tue Apr 18 10:18:42 PDT 2017

Dear MARMAM colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the following paper has been published online:

Arso Civil, Mònica, Barbara Cheney, Nicola J. Quick, Paul M. Thompson, and Philip S. Hammond (2017) A new approach to estimate fecundity rate from inter-birth intervals. Ecosphere 8(4):e01796. 10.1002/ecs2.1796

Accurate estimates of fecundity rate are key to population assessments and effectively direct conservation efforts. We present a new approach to estimate fecundity rate based on the probability of a female giving birth, conditional on a previous birth t years ago, from which an expected inter-birth interval (IBI) can be estimated. We use generalized linear mixed-effects models to account for individual and temporal variability and apply the approach to individual reproductive histories of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from the east coast of Scotland. We estimate a fecundity rate of 0.222 (95% CI = 0.218–0.253) and an expected IBI of 4.49 yr (95% CI = 3.94–4.93 yr). We use simulated data samples to show that the approach produces estimates with a minimum bias of <3%. Simulations are also used to investigate the effect of the most common data-driven biases in the estimates of birth intervals and fecundity rate; we recommend longitudinal studies of at least 10 yr and capture probabilities of at least 0.3 when using this methodology. The approach may be modified to incorporate other parameters of interest and should be applicable to any population with comprehensive data on birth intervals.

A PDF copy of the work can be downloaded from:

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any question regarding our work.

Best Regards,
Monica Arso

Dr Monica Arso
Research Fellow
Sea Mammal Research Unit
Scottish Oceans Institute
University of St Andrews
KY16 8LB
Tel: +44 (0) 1334 462629

Twitter: @_SMRU_

The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland : No SC013532

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