NCEAS Project 12457

Integrating behavior and demography in vertebrate conservation

  • Leah R. Gerber

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Sabbatical Fellow1st June 2009—31st August 2010Participant List  

Abstract
Individual differences in behavior and social status can in theory determine the rate of population change and thus the threat that imperiled species face in the real world. While there has been an increase in the number of studies addressing the interface between behavior and conservation theory, a paradigm for applying behavioral knowledge to real-world conservation problems has not yet been developed. The goal of this research is to integrate theories from behavioral ecology with quantitative techniques in demography in order to examine the effects of a variety of reproductive behaviors on extinction risk. Trained as a population biologist, most of my research to date has focused on the effects of density dependence, environmental stochasticity, and catastrophic mortality events on the viability of endangered populations. Recognizing that this coarse approach ignores the finer subtleties of animal behavior, I seek to bridge the gap between behavioral ecology and population dynamics. This research will provide practitioners with guidelines for understanding when behavior should be an important component of a particular management strategy (e.g., can we identify behavioral cues of population dysfunction that provide cost-effective monitoring alternatives?). I will use empirical data on sea lions in the Gulf of California, Mexico to develop a general framework for integrating behaviors and the demographic consequences of these behaviors into estimates of extinction risk.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Chirakkal, Haridas; Gerber, Leah R. 2010. Short and long-term population response to changes in vital rates: Implications for population viability analysis. Ecological Applications. Vol: 20(3). Pages 783–788.
Journal Article Flatz, Ramona; Gerber, Leah R. 2010. First evidence for adoption in California sea lions. PLoS ONE. Vol: 5(11). Pages e13873.
Journal Article Fujitani, Marie L.; Fenichel, Eli P.; Torre, Jorge; Gerber, Leah R. 2012. Implementation of a marine reserve has a rapid but short-lived effect on recreational angler use. Ecological Applications. Vol: 22(2). Pages 597-605. (Online version)
Journal Article Gerber, Leah R.; Gonzalez-Suarez, Manuela; Hernandez-Camacho, Claudia J.; Young, Julie K.; Sabo, John L. 2010. The cost of male aggression and polygyny in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). PLoS ONE. Vol: 5(8). Pages e12230 .
Journal Article Morissette, Lyne; Kaschner, Kristin; Gerber, Leah R. 2010. Ecosystem models clarify the trophic role of whales off Northwest Africa. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. Vol: 404. Pages 289–302.
Journal Article Morissette, Lyne; Kaschner, Kristin; Gerber, Leah R. 2010. 'Whales eat fish'? Demystifying the myth in the Caribbean marine ecosystem. Fish and Fisheries. Vol: 11(4). Pages 388-404.
Journal Article Rudnick, Deborah A.; Ryan, Sadie J.; Beier, Paul; Cushman, Samuel A.; Dieffenbach, Fred; Epps, Clinton W.; Gerber, Leah R.; Hartter, Joel; Jenness, Jeff S.; Kintsch, Julia; Merenlender, Adina M.; Perkl, Ryan M.; Preziosi, Damian V.; Trombulak, Stephen C. 2012. The role of landscape connectivity in planning and implementing conservation and restoration priorities. Issues in Ecology. Vol: 16. Pages 1-20.
Journal Article Underwood, Jared G.; D'Agrosa, Caterina; Gerber, Leah R. 2010. Identifying conservation areas on the basis of alternative distribution data sets. Conservation Biology. Vol: 24(1). Pages 162-170.
Journal Article Ward, Eric J.; Chirakkal, Haridas; Gonzalez-Suarez, Manuela; Aurioles-Gamboa, David; Holmes, Elizabeth E.; Gerber, Leah R. 2010. Inferring spatial structure from time series data: Using multivariate state-space models to detect metapopulation structure of California sea lions in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Journal of Applied Ecology. Vol: 47. Pages 47–56.
Journal Article Wielgus, Jeffrey; Balmford, Andrew; Lewis, Tiffany B.; Mora, Camilo; Gerber, Leah R. 2010. Coral reef quality and recreation fees in marine protected areas. Conservation Letters. Vol: 3. Pages 38–44.