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New Research Lab Statistical Ecology

Population Consequences of Disturbance

The Population Consequences of Disturbance (PCoD) framework was designed to address how anthropogenic or natural disturbances that cause short-term changes in individuals can be scaled up to determine the wider, long-term impact on the overall population of the species. The central hypothesis is that small, repeated, non-lethal disturbances can result in changes in behavior and/or physiology that will influence an individual’s health over time. This, in turn, alters an individual’s vital rates, such as survival and fecundity. When considered across all individuals in the population, these changes can potentially impact the population’s dynamics.

PCoD has been applied to numerous marine mammal species, including elephant seals, bottlenose dolphins, right whales and beaked whales. One of the main challenges has been the addressing the framework’s data needs. As a result, my current research is focused on exploring different tools, such as expert elicitation, and variations of the framework’s application to make it a more accessible tool.


Relevant Publications

Fleishman, E., Costa, D.P., Harwood, J., Kraus, S., Moretti, D., New, L.F., Schick, R.S., Schwarz, L.K., Simmons, S.E., Thomas, L. and Wells, R.S. (2016) Monitoring population-level responses of marine mammals to disturbance. Marine Mammal Science.

Harwood, J., King, S., Booth, C., Donovan, C., Schick, R.S., Thomas, L. and New, L. (2016) Understanding the population consequences of acoustic disturbance for marine mammals. In, Pooper, A.N. and Hawkins, A. (eds.) The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II, Springer Science+Business Media, NY, pp 417-423.

Pirotta, E., Harwood, J., Thompson, P.M., New, L., Cheney, B., Arso, M., Hammond, P.S., Donovan, C. and Lusseau, D. (2015) Predicting the effects of human developments on individual dolphins to understand potential long-term population consequences. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2109

New, L.F., Clark, J.S., Costa, D.P., Fleishman, E., Hindell, M.A., Klanjscek, T., Lusseau, D., Kraus, S., McMahon, C.R., Robinson, P.W., Schick, R.S., Schwarz, L.K., Simmons, S.E., Thomas, L., Tyack, P. and Harwood, J. (2014) Estimating the long-term fitness of southern elephant seals on the basis of short-term measures of behaviour. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 496: 99-108.

New, L., Moretti, D., Hooker, S., Costa, P. and Simmons, S. (2013) An energetics model for the survival and reproduction of beaked whales (family Ziphiidae). PLOS ONE, 8: e68725. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068725

Schick, R.S., New, L.F., Thomas, L., Costa, D.P., Hindell, M.A., McMahon, C.R., Robinson, P.W., Simmons, S.E., Thums, M., Harwood, J. and Clark, J.S. (2013) Estimating resource acquisition and at-sea body condition of a marine predator. Journal of Animal Ecology, 82: 1300-1315.