Oliveira Claudia

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  • Article
    Multi-state open robust design applied to opportunistic data reveals dynamics of wide-ranging taxa: The sperm whale case.
    (Ecological Society of America, 2019-03-04) Boys, Rebecca M. ; Oliveira, Claudia ; Pérez‐Jorge, Sergi ; Prieto, Rui ; Steiner, Lisa ; Silva, Monica A.
    Capture–mark–recapture methods have been extensively used to estimate abundance, demography, and life history parameters of populations of several taxa. However, the high mobility of many species means that dedicated surveys are logistically complicated and expensive. Use of opportunistic data may be an alternative, if modeling takes into account the inevitable heterogeneity in capture probability from imperfect detection and incomplete sampling, which can produce significant bias in parameter estimates. Here, we compare covariate‐based open Jolly‐Seber models (POPAN) and multi‐state open robust design (MSORD) models to estimate demographic parameters of the sperm whale population summering in the Azores, from photo‐identification data collected opportunistically by whale‐watching operators and researchers. The structure of the MSORD also allows for extra information to be obtained, estimating temporary emigration and improving precision of estimated parameters. Estimates of survival from both POPAN and MSORD were high, constant, and very similar. The POPAN model, which partially accounted for heterogeneity in capture probabilities, estimated an unbiased super‐population of ~1470 whales, with annual abundance showing a positive trend from 351 individuals (95% CI: 234–526) in 2010 to 718 (95% CI: 477–1082) in 2015. In contrast, estimates of abundance from MSORD models that explicitly incorporated imperfect detection due to temporary emigration were less biased, more precise, and showed no trend over years, from 275 individuals (95% CI: 188–404) in 2014 to 367 (95% CI: 248–542) in 2012. The MSORD estimated short residence time and an even‐flow temporary emigration, meaning that the probability of whales emigrating from and immigrating to the area was equal. Our results illustrate how failure to account for transience and temporary emigration can lead to biased estimates and trends in abundance, compromising our ability to detect true population changes. MSORD models should improve inferences of population dynamics, especially when capture probability is low and highly variable, due to wide‐ranging behavior of individuals or to non‐standardized sampling. Therefore, these models should provide less biased estimates and more accurate assessments of uncertainty that can inform management and conservation measures.
  • Article
    Sperm whale codas may encode individuality as well as clan identity
    (Acoustical Society of America, 2016-05-19) Oliveira, Claudia ; Wahlberg, Magnus ; Silva, Monica A. ; Johnson, Mark P. ; Antunes, Ricardo ; Wisniewska, Danuta M. ; Fais, Andrea ; Goncalves, Joao M. A. ; Madsen, Peter T.
    Sperm whales produce codas for communication that can be grouped into different types according to their temporal patterns. Codas have led researchers to propose that sperm whales belong to distinct cultural clans, but it is presently unclear if they also convey individual information. Coda clicks comprise a series of pulses and the delay between pulses is a function of organ size, and therefore body size, and so is one potential source of individual information. Another potential individual-specific parameter could be the inter-click intervals within codas. To test whether these parameters provide reliable individual cues, stereo-hydrophone acoustic tags (Dtags) were attached to five sperm whales of the Azores, recording a total of 802 codas. A discriminant function analysis was used to distinguish 288 5 Regular codas from four of the sperm whales and 183 3 Regular codas from two sperm whales. The results suggest that codas have consistent individual features in their inter-click intervals and inter-pulse intervals which may contribute to individual identification. Additionally, two whales produced different coda types in distinct foraging dive phases. Codas may therefore be used by sperm whales to convey information of identity as well as activity within a social group to a larger extent than previously assumed.