CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Wildlife Research   
Wildlife Research
Journal Banner
  Ecology, Management and Conservation in Natural and Modified Habitats
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter logo LinkedIn


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 36(4)

Using simulation to improve wildlife surveys: wintering mallards in Mississippi, USA

Aaron T. Pearse A C, Kenneth J. Reinecke B, Stephen J. Dinsmore A, Richard M. Kaminski A

A Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Box 9690, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA.
B United States Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 2524 South Frontage Road, Suite C, Vicksburg, MS 39180, USA.
C Corresponding author. Email: apearse@usgs.gov
PDF (214 KB) $25
 Export Citation


Wildlife conservation plans generally require reliable data about population abundance and density. Aerial surveys often can provide these data; however, associated costs necessitate designing and conducting surveys efficiently. We developed methods to simulate population distributions of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) wintering in western Mississippi, USA, by combining bird observations from three previous strip-transect surveys and habitat data from three sets of satellite images representing conditions when surveys were conducted. For each simulated population distribution, we compared 12 primary survey designs and two secondary design options by using coefficients of variation (CV) of population indices as the primary criterion for assessing survey performance. In all, 3 of the 12 primary designs provided the best precision (CV ≤ 11.7%) and performed equally well (diff ≤ 0.6%). Features of the designs that provided the largest gains in precision were optimal allocation of sample effort among strata and configuring the study area into five rather than four strata, to more precisely estimate mallard indices in areas of consistently high density. Of the two secondary design options, we found including a second observer to double the size of strip transects increased precision or decreased costs, whereas ratio estimation using auxiliary habitat data from satellite images did not increase precision appreciably. We recommend future surveys of mallard populations in our study area use the strata we developed, optimally allocate samples among strata, employ PPS or EPS sampling, and include two observers when qualified staff are available. More generally, the methods we developed to simulate population distributions from prior survey data provide a cost-effective method to assess performance of alternative wildlife surveys critical to informing management decisions, and could be extended to account for effects of detectability on estimates of true abundance.

Subscriber Login

Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2015