Population viability analysis with species occurrence data from museum collections

Conservation Biology : the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
Olav Skarpaas, Odd E Stabbetorp


The most comprehensive data on many species come from scientific collections. Thus, we developed a method of population viability analysis (PVA) in which this type of occurrence data can be used. In contrast to classical PVA, our approach accounts for the inherent observation error in occurrence data and allows the estimation of the population parameters needed for viability analysis. We tested the sensitivity of the approach to spatial resolution of the data, length of the time series, sampling effort, and detection probability with simulated data and conducted PVAs for common, rare, and threatened species. We compared the results of these PVAs with results of standard method PVAs in which observation error is ignored. Our method provided realistic estimates of population growth terms and quasi-extinction risk in cases in which the standard method without observation error could not. For low values of any of the sampling variables we tested, precision decreased, and in some cases biased estimates resulted. The results of our PVAs with the example species were consistent with information in the literature on these species. Our approach may facilitate PVA for a wide range of species of conservation concern for which demographic ...Continue Reading


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