Statistical advancements in the analysis of migratory movements using a novel broad-scale automated radio-telemetry array.

Partnerships among researchers and corporations are continually pushing the advancement of animal tracking technology, allowing smaller animals to be tracked for longer periods, over greater spatial scales, and at finer scale spatial resolutions. Yet the statistical analyses of these data is lagging behind. Using a novel, state-of-the-art network of 57 automated telemetry arrays distributed across southern Ontario, we will develop statistical methodologies to quantify the migratory movements of birds. We will first estimate error around the estimated location of individual detections, and then incorporate observation error into Bayesian state-space models to quantify effects of sex, age, species and environmental variability on the direction, speed, and habitat use of migratory birds. Working together with Bird Studies Canada and Lotek Wireless Inc, this project will generate new information and new methodologies to inform ecologically sound wildlife management, policy and regulatory decisions. For example, it could help to guide the placement of wind turbines to minimize disturbance to migratory animals. All analytical and online visualization tools developed will be open-source and freely-available, which could lead to more users and the continued development and broader application of Lotek’s coded tag technology.

Intern: 
Tara Crewe
Faculty Supervisor: 
Yolanda Morbey
Project Year: 
2014
Province: 
Ontario
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