[MARMAM] New publication relevant to the population consequences of disturbance

Elizabeth McHuron emchuron at ucsc.edu
Tue Jan 10 09:07:01 PST 2017

Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of the
following paper online in Methods in Ecology and Evolution:

McHuron, EA, Costa, DP, Schwarz, L, and M. Mangel. State-dependent
behavioural theory for assessing the fitness consequences of anthropogenic
disturbance on capital and income breeders.Methods in Ecology and Evolution

1. Anthropogenic disturbance is of increasing concern for wildlife
populations, necessitating the development of models that link behavioural
changes at the individual level with biologically meaningful changes at the
population level.
2. We developed a general framework for estimating the fitness consequences
of disturbance that affects foraging behaviour using state-dependent
behavioural theory implemented by Stochastic Dynamic Programming (SDP).We
illustrate this framework using generalized examples of pinnipeds, a group
of marine carnivores that include both capital- and income-breeding
species. We examined how disturbance affected pup recruitment separately
for each reproductive strategy, and the impact of foraging decisions and
parameter values on model results.
3. The effect of disturbance on pup recruitment was greater for income than
capital breeders for all disturbance scenarios.Disturbance had negligible
effects on pup recruitment when it occurred within less frequented foraging
patches, but moderate to large effects when it occurred within an important
foraging patch.Model results were sensitive to values of patch productivity
(the energy gained from successful foraging), the probability of
disturbance and individual behavioural choices in the face of disturbance.
4. State-dependent behavioural theory implemented by SDP is a powerful tool
for investigating when behavioural changes in response to disturbance may
be meaningful at the population level. This approach allows us to
incorporate many factors that are known to influence the behavioural and
physiological responses of animals to anthropogenic disturbance, and places
disturbance within the context of a temporally and spatially variable
environment. The general framework we have developed can be used to
estimate the consequences of anthropogenic disturbance across a broad range
of species.

A complete copy of the manuscript can be found at

Please don't hesitate to contact me via email or on ResearchGate if you
would like a full text and do not have access to the online version.


Liz McHuron
Elizabeth McHuron, Ph.D.
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Center for Ocean Health, Long Marine Lab
100 Shaffer Rd.
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
emchuron at ucsc.edu
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