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The use of individuals-based and depletion models in conservation: Behavioural ecology and conservation of the Svalbard barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

Cope, David Roger; (2002) The use of individuals-based and depletion models in conservation: Behavioural ecology and conservation of the Svalbard barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis). Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Knowing the possible consequences of anthropogenic change on populations of animals may help in the effective conservation and management of species and their habitats. The way in which a population of animals is affected by environmental change is determined by the way individuals behave and adapt in response to that change. Through simulation modelling, behavioural responses can be used to make predictions about population consequences under conditions that have yet to be observed. This thesis uses the overwintering population of the Svalbard barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis) on the Solway Firth, UK as a study system to examine how behavioural decision rules can be incorporated into simulation models, and how these models can be applied to conservation issues. Current conservation priorities in this population include the reduction of conflict between farmers and geese on pasture fields on the Solway Firth, and ensuring that the size of the population does not decrease to levels that may lead to extinction. A behaviour-based depletion model indicates that changes in land management priorities, habitat availability and quality, temperature and population size are likely to impact on both the survival and breeding prospects of the population and on the level of conservation-agriculture conflict observed on the Solway Firth. An individuals-based simulation model showed that food resource depletion, alongside social dominance, are important factors in determining flock structure and energy accumulation. The examination and simulation of the processes that determine the vital population rates allows predictions to be made that will allow effective conservation management. Linking behaviour to individual survival and reproduction through field studies is the next vital step in this process.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The use of individuals-based and depletion models in conservation: Behavioural ecology and conservation of the Svalbard barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences; Svalbard barnacle goose
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106646
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