Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
Home | Intranet | Digital Measures | Help

Integrated abundance and movement models for marine mammals


September 2018 - March 2020


Capture-recapture and telemetry methods are frequently used to evaluate marine mammal density, habitat use, and movement, providing important information on sustainable harvest, the effects of a warming environment, and spatial and temporal overlap with commercial fisheries. In general, capture-recapture methods provide population-level demographic parameters, while telemetry methods provide individual-level information on habitat use, movement, and behavior. Although the two approaches share information on
population dynamics, the resulting data are generally analyzed separately, which can lead to inefficient estimators and substantial bias. We propose development of a framework for integrating spatial capture–recapture (SCR) and telemetry data to simultaneously estimate density, habitat use, and movement of marine mammals. Integrated SCR-telemetry models have the potential to (1) address shortcomings of traditional capture-recapture methods; (2) allow estimation of abundance, density, movement, dispersal, and habitat
selection using all available data; and (3) be applied across a variety of study designs used for marine mammal monitoring. We propose to develop SCR-telemetry models using capture-recapture and telemetry data for polar bears in the Chukchi Sea during the period 2008 – 2016. We also propose to use simulation methods to evaluate the performance of SCR-telemetry models and provide monitoring design recommendations of broad applicability to polar bears and other marine mammals. Improved monitoring methods are critical to obtaining accurate information on polar bear abundance and distribution, which is needed for management and conservation under national laws and international agreements, and SCR-telemetry methods show great promise for providing that information. More broadly, SCR-telemetry models provide researchers and managers with a framework to integrate multiple data types – including data from
emerging technologies (e.g., satellite tags, acoustic sampling, autonomous drones) – to improve the accuracy
and efficiency of marine mammal monitoring programs across the Arctic.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 101

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 154

Post Docs: 55

University Staff: 241

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 695

Scientific Publications: 1962

Presentations: 4417



Funding Agencies

  • North Pacific Research Board


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey