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Using hierarchical bayes to understand movement, health, and survival in the endangered north atlantic right whale.

Schick RS, Kraus SD, Rolland RM, Knowlton AR, Hamilton PK, Pettis HM, Kenney RD, Clark JS - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: We also included the effect of reproductive status and entanglement status on health.The resulting time series of individual health highlight both normal variations in health status and how anthropogenic stressors can affect the health and, ultimately, the survival of individuals.This modeling approach provides information for monitoring of health in right whales, as well as a framework for integrating observational data at the level of individuals up through the health status of the population.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America. rss5@st-andrews.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Body condition is an indicator of health, and it plays a key role in many vital processes for mammalian species. While evidence of individual body condition can be obtained, these observations provide just brief glimpses into the health state of the animal. An analytical framework is needed for understanding how health of animals changes over space and time.Through knowledge of individual health we can better understand the status of populations. This is particularly important in endangered species, where the consequences of disruption of critical biological functions can push groups of animals rapidly toward extinction. Here we built a state-space model that provides estimates of movement, health, and survival. We assimilated 30+ years of photographic evidence of body condition and three additional visual health parameters in individual North Atlantic right whales, together with survey data, to infer the true health status as it changes over space and time. We also included the effect of reproductive status and entanglement status on health. At the population level, we estimated differential movement patterns in males and females. At the individual level, we estimated the likely animal locations each month. We estimated the relationship between observed and latent health status. Observations of body condition, skin condition, cyamid infestation on the blowholes, and rake marks all provided measures of the true underlying health. The resulting time series of individual health highlight both normal variations in health status and how anthropogenic stressors can affect the health and, ultimately, the survival of individuals. This modeling approach provides information for monitoring of health in right whales, as well as a framework for integrating observational data at the level of individuals up through the health status of the population. This framework can be broadly applied to a variety of systems - terrestrial and marine - where sporadic observations of individuals exist.

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Overview map of right whale habitat.Overview map of the study area with the 9 geographic areas labeled at the approximate centroid for each region. Inset map highlights the regions contained within the greater Gulf of Maine. Abbreviations are as follows: NRTH  =  North region, BOF  =  Bay of Fundy, JL  =  Jeffreys Ledge, GOM  =  Gulf of Maine, RB  =  Roseway Basin, NE  =  Northeast, GSC  =  Great South Channel, MIDA  =  Mid-Atlantic, and SEUS  =  Southeastern US.
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pone-0064166-g001: Overview map of right whale habitat.Overview map of the study area with the 9 geographic areas labeled at the approximate centroid for each region. Inset map highlights the regions contained within the greater Gulf of Maine. Abbreviations are as follows: NRTH  =  North region, BOF  =  Bay of Fundy, JL  =  Jeffreys Ledge, GOM  =  Gulf of Maine, RB  =  Roseway Basin, NE  =  Northeast, GSC  =  Great South Channel, MIDA  =  Mid-Atlantic, and SEUS  =  Southeastern US.

Mentions: Photographic mark-recapture studies of right whales throughout their range have led to a broad-scale understanding of movement patterns and health status at both the population and individual levels [24]–[28]. The primary seasonal habitats for right whales and the movements between these habitats are broadly understood from individual observations made throughout the western North Atlantic over the past 30+ years [22], [29], [30]. While the macro-scale movement patterns are known, there is a great deal of individual variability. Most adult females who are reproductively active are seen with calves in the southeastern United States (SEUS), Cape Cod Bay (CCB), and the Bay of Fundy (BOF) [24] (Figure 1). However, there is a significant subset of these females who rarely or never take their calves to the BOF [31]. In addition, evidence from satellite telemetry studies suggests large individual variation in movement patterns over their entire habitat [32], [33]. Further, all females are rarely sighted in the year immediately following calving [34]. Despite many years of study, these individual differences in sightability and habitat use complicate our understanding of the dynamics of the population, and these differences can make spatially explicit management strategies difficult to implement [35].


Using hierarchical bayes to understand movement, health, and survival in the endangered north atlantic right whale.

Schick RS, Kraus SD, Rolland RM, Knowlton AR, Hamilton PK, Pettis HM, Kenney RD, Clark JS - PLoS ONE (2013)

Overview map of right whale habitat.Overview map of the study area with the 9 geographic areas labeled at the approximate centroid for each region. Inset map highlights the regions contained within the greater Gulf of Maine. Abbreviations are as follows: NRTH  =  North region, BOF  =  Bay of Fundy, JL  =  Jeffreys Ledge, GOM  =  Gulf of Maine, RB  =  Roseway Basin, NE  =  Northeast, GSC  =  Great South Channel, MIDA  =  Mid-Atlantic, and SEUS  =  Southeastern US.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3675107&req=5

pone-0064166-g001: Overview map of right whale habitat.Overview map of the study area with the 9 geographic areas labeled at the approximate centroid for each region. Inset map highlights the regions contained within the greater Gulf of Maine. Abbreviations are as follows: NRTH  =  North region, BOF  =  Bay of Fundy, JL  =  Jeffreys Ledge, GOM  =  Gulf of Maine, RB  =  Roseway Basin, NE  =  Northeast, GSC  =  Great South Channel, MIDA  =  Mid-Atlantic, and SEUS  =  Southeastern US.
Mentions: Photographic mark-recapture studies of right whales throughout their range have led to a broad-scale understanding of movement patterns and health status at both the population and individual levels [24]–[28]. The primary seasonal habitats for right whales and the movements between these habitats are broadly understood from individual observations made throughout the western North Atlantic over the past 30+ years [22], [29], [30]. While the macro-scale movement patterns are known, there is a great deal of individual variability. Most adult females who are reproductively active are seen with calves in the southeastern United States (SEUS), Cape Cod Bay (CCB), and the Bay of Fundy (BOF) [24] (Figure 1). However, there is a significant subset of these females who rarely or never take their calves to the BOF [31]. In addition, evidence from satellite telemetry studies suggests large individual variation in movement patterns over their entire habitat [32], [33]. Further, all females are rarely sighted in the year immediately following calving [34]. Despite many years of study, these individual differences in sightability and habitat use complicate our understanding of the dynamics of the population, and these differences can make spatially explicit management strategies difficult to implement [35].

Bottom Line: We also included the effect of reproductive status and entanglement status on health.The resulting time series of individual health highlight both normal variations in health status and how anthropogenic stressors can affect the health and, ultimately, the survival of individuals.This modeling approach provides information for monitoring of health in right whales, as well as a framework for integrating observational data at the level of individuals up through the health status of the population.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America. rss5@st-andrews.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Body condition is an indicator of health, and it plays a key role in many vital processes for mammalian species. While evidence of individual body condition can be obtained, these observations provide just brief glimpses into the health state of the animal. An analytical framework is needed for understanding how health of animals changes over space and time.Through knowledge of individual health we can better understand the status of populations. This is particularly important in endangered species, where the consequences of disruption of critical biological functions can push groups of animals rapidly toward extinction. Here we built a state-space model that provides estimates of movement, health, and survival. We assimilated 30+ years of photographic evidence of body condition and three additional visual health parameters in individual North Atlantic right whales, together with survey data, to infer the true health status as it changes over space and time. We also included the effect of reproductive status and entanglement status on health. At the population level, we estimated differential movement patterns in males and females. At the individual level, we estimated the likely animal locations each month. We estimated the relationship between observed and latent health status. Observations of body condition, skin condition, cyamid infestation on the blowholes, and rake marks all provided measures of the true underlying health. The resulting time series of individual health highlight both normal variations in health status and how anthropogenic stressors can affect the health and, ultimately, the survival of individuals. This modeling approach provides information for monitoring of health in right whales, as well as a framework for integrating observational data at the level of individuals up through the health status of the population. This framework can be broadly applied to a variety of systems - terrestrial and marine - where sporadic observations of individuals exist.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus