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Reassessing spatial and temporal dynamics of kangaroo populations

Pople, A.R. and Grigg, G.C. and Phinn, S.R. and Menke, N. and McAlpine, C. and Possingham, H.P. (2010) Reassessing spatial and temporal dynamics of kangaroo populations. In: Macropods: the biology of kangaroos, wallabies and rat-kangaroos. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 197-210.

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Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/6187.htm

Abstract

Long-running datasets from aerial surveys of kangaroos (Macropus giganteus, Macropus [uliginosus, Macropus robustus and Macropus rufus) across Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia have been analysed, seeking better predictors of rates of increase which would allow aerial surveys to be undertaken less frequently than annually. Early models of changes in kangaroo numbers in response to rainfall had shown great promise, but much variability. We used normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) instead, reasoning that changes in pasture condition would provide a better predictor than rainfall. However, except at a fine scale, NDVI proved no better; although two linked periods of rainfall proved useful predictors of rates of increase, this was only in some areas for some species. The good correlations reported in earlier studies were a consequence of data dominated by large droughtinduced adult mortality, whereas over a longer time frame and where changes between years are less dramatic, juvenile survival has the strongest influence on dynamics. Further, harvesting, density dependence and competition with domestic stock are additional and important influences and it is now clear that kangaroo movement has a greater influence on population dynamics than had been assumed. Accordingly, previous conclusions about kangaroo populations as simple systems driven by rainfall need to be reassessed. Examination of this large dataset has permitted descriptions of shifts in distribution of three species across eastern Australia, changes in dispersion in response to rainfall, and an evaluation of using harvest statistics as an index of density and harvest rate. These results have been combined into a risk assessment and decision theory framework to identify optimal monitoring strategies.

Item Type:Book Section
Corporate Creators:DEEDI, Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:© CSIRO Publishing.
Keywords:Kangaroo; macropods; population dynamics.
Subjects:Science > Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Mammals > Marsupialia. Marsupials > Diprotodontia (Kangaroos, koalas, possums, wombats, bilbies etc)
Science > Statistics > Simulation modelling
Deposited On:25 Aug 2010 05:13
Last Modified:03 Sep 2010 06:10

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