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Wednesday, April 11 • 10:45am - 11:00am
SYMPOSIA-14: Modeling Transition Rates of Sandhill Cranes Using a Multi-state Model and Estimating Stage-specific Elasticities

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AUTHORS: Michael Wheeler*, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Jeb Barzen, International Crane Foundation; Shawn Crimmins, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point; Tim Van Deelen, University of Wisconsin, Madison

ABSTRACT: Long-term trends in Midwestern sandhill crane populations indicate positive growth despite much yearly variability, and continued monitoring will be required for effective management. This study was conducted to explore relationships between life-history stage and recruitment in sandhill crane populations, as well as to estimate the size of the study population. Since 1990, the International Crane Foundation (Baraboo, Wisconsin) has collected long-term re-sightings data on territorial and non-territorial sandhill cranes in southcentral Wisconsin. We used these data in a multi-state model to estimate survival and state-transition probabilities of different demographic groups. Results suggest high annual survival rates (~90%) and low annual rates of territory acquisition or loss (~5%). Stage-specific elasticities were calculated from mark-resighting transition rates. Survival of territorial adults and their continued tenure on territory have appreciable effects on growth rate (2.5 times the impact than the next most important stage class) – hence availability of suitable territories may regulate growth rates. Consequently, management of crane populations in the Midwest may depend on creating habitats that support territory establishment.Though this research is most relevant to crane management in Wisconsin, the information from these models is transferable. Many aspects of sandhill crane biology are shared with the other 14 crane species, many of which are threatened or endangered. The model’s information regarding territoriality dynamics could also be applied to other long-lived, territorial species such as swans and geese.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 10:45am - 11:00am CDT
LaSalle 5 (7th Floor)

Attendees (3)