Estimating adult sex ratios from bird mist netting data

Amrhein, Valentin and Scaar, Bertrand and Baumann, Marc and Minery, Nicolas and Binnert, Jean-Paul and Korner-Nievergelt, Fraenzi. (2012) Estimating adult sex ratios from bird mist netting data. Methods in ecology and evolution, Vol. 3, H. 4. pp. 713-720.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6070524

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1. It is increasingly acknowledged that skewed adult sex ratios (ASRs) may play an important role in ecology, evolution and conservation of animals. 2. In birds, published estimates on ASRs mostly rely on mist netting data. However, previous studies suggested that mist nets or other trap types provide biased estimates on sex ratios, with males being more susceptible to capture than females. 3. We used data from a Constant Effort Site ringing scheme to show how sex ratios that are corrected for sex- and year-specific capture probabilities can be directly estimated by applying capturerecapture analysis, for example, in a Bayesian framework. 4. When capture data were pooled from the 19 years of study, we found that in the blackbird (Turdus merula) and the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), the observed proportions of males were 57% and 55%, respectively. However, when the observed annual proportions of males were corrected for the sex-specific capture probabilities, the proportions of males did not clearly differ from 50% in most study years, and thus, the apparent male-bias in the ASRs almost completely disappeared. 5. We propose that published estimates on ASRs in birds should be re-evaluated if based solely on observed sex ratios from mist netting studies. 6. We further propose that data from national bird ringing schemes and in particular from Constant Effort Site ringing programs can provide valuable information on ASRs, if analysed using capturerecapture models. We discuss important assumptions of those models; for example, movements that may differ between sexes should be taken into account, as well as the occurrence of transient individuals that do not hold breeding territories within a study site.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Behavioural Ecology (Amrhein)
UniBasel Contributors:Amrhein, Valentin
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:04 Sep 2015 14:31
Deposited On:21 Jun 2013 12:27

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