Analyzing variability and the rate of decline of migratory shorebirds in Moreton Bay, Australia

Wilson, Howard B., Kendall, Bruce E., Fuller, Richard A., Milton, David A. and Possingham, Hugh P. (2011) Analyzing variability and the rate of decline of migratory shorebirds in Moreton Bay, Australia. Conservation Biology, 25 4: 758-766. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01670.x

Author Wilson, Howard B.
Kendall, Bruce E.
Fuller, Richard A.
Milton, David A.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Title Analyzing variability and the rate of decline of migratory shorebirds in Moreton Bay, Australia
Journal name Conservation Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0888-8892
Publication date 2011-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01670.x
Volume 25
Issue 4
Start page 758
End page 766
Total pages 9
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Estimating the abundance of migratory species is difficult because sources of variability differ
substantially among species and populations. Recently developed state-space models address this variability
issue by directly modeling both environmental and measurement error, although their efficacy in detecting
declines is relatively untested for empirical data. We applied state-space modeling, generalized least squares
(with autoregression error structure), and standard linear regression to data on abundance of wetland
birds (shorebirds and terns) at Moreton Bay in southeast Queensland, Australia. There are internationally
significant numbers of 8 species of waterbirds in the bay, and it is a major terminus of the large East Asian-
Australasian Flyway. In our analyses, we considered 22 migrant and 8 resident species. State-space models
identified abundances of 7 species of migrants as significantly declining and abundance of one species
as significantly increasing. Declines in migrant abundance over 15 years were 43–79%. Generalized least
squares with an autoregressive error structure showed abundance changes in 11 species, and standard linear
regression showed abundance changes in 15 species. The higher power of the regression models meant they
detected more declines, but they also were associated with a higher rate of false detections. If the declines in
Moreton Bay are consistent with trends from other sites across the flyway as a whole, then a large number of
species are in significant decline.
Keyword Migratory species
Population declines
State-space models
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
Ecology Centre Publications
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