Mechanisms of drought-induced population decline in an endangered wallaby

Mechanisms of drought-induced population decline in an endangered wallaby The bridled nailtail wallaby is restricted to one locality in central Queensland, Australia. The population declined severely during a major drought between 1991 and 1995. We investigated age-specific covariates of survival and proximate causes of mortality from 1994 to 1997, using mark–recapture and radio-tagging techniques at two study sites. Using a matrix population model, we also modelled the effect of drought on age-specific survival and the intrinsic rate of population increase, λ . The only significant covariate of survival for adults was a measure of health unrelated to drought. Rainfall, food, predator activity, year, sex and habitat were not associated with variation in adult survival. Juvenile survival was negatively affected by drought, and predation was the proximate cause of most juvenile deaths. The matrix projection model showed that the observed juvenile survivorship during the drought was low enough to have produced a population decline, although fecundity and survival of other age classes was high throughout the study. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biological Conservation Elsevier

Mechanisms of drought-induced population decline in an endangered wallaby

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN
0006-3207
D.O.I.
10.1016/S0006-3207(00)00200-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The bridled nailtail wallaby is restricted to one locality in central Queensland, Australia. The population declined severely during a major drought between 1991 and 1995. We investigated age-specific covariates of survival and proximate causes of mortality from 1994 to 1997, using mark–recapture and radio-tagging techniques at two study sites. Using a matrix population model, we also modelled the effect of drought on age-specific survival and the intrinsic rate of population increase, λ . The only significant covariate of survival for adults was a measure of health unrelated to drought. Rainfall, food, predator activity, year, sex and habitat were not associated with variation in adult survival. Juvenile survival was negatively affected by drought, and predation was the proximate cause of most juvenile deaths. The matrix projection model showed that the observed juvenile survivorship during the drought was low enough to have produced a population decline, although fecundity and survival of other age classes was high throughout the study.

Journal

Biological ConservationElsevier

Published: Nov 1, 2001

References

  • Population dynamics and survival of an endangered wallaby, a comparison of four methods
    Fisher, D.O.; Hoyle, S.D.; Blomberg, S.P.

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