My Dissertation: BBS Analysis

I use North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data to examine broad-scale bird population trends in relation to weather (Thogmartin et al. 2007 – bonus, that guy is on our project team!) He has even done work very related to my 1st chapter (Thogmartin et al. 2006). In any case, the initial motivation of the BBS was to monitor avian population trends (Saracco et al. 2008). At its inception in 1966, other applications weren’t really considered (Nielson et al. 2008). Yet, analytical techniques and questions marched along, with ever increasing awareness of necessary statistical considerations (Sauer et al. 2013). Nowadays, the more-or-less standard framework these days for analysis, including estimating trends, is Bayesian hierarchical or multilevel model (Sauer and Link 2002). Another way to think about this is as a generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) (Wikle 2003). It is a convenient way to incorporate fixed and random effects in modeling BBS data, as well as various data distributions (Griffith et al. 2010). For example, BBS count data is assumed to be overdispersed (Porter et al. 2015).

“Starting with the 2011 BBS data, Canadian trends and annual indices have been estimated using a hierarchical Bayesian (HB) model, which is very similar to the model adopted by the USGS in 2009 and described in link and Sauer (2002) and Sauer and link (2011).” – Smith et al. 2014

This analytical technique has been applied to several bird data sets, and combinations thereof (Link et al. 2007). As always, game species emerge as a research priority (Sauer et al. 2008). Yet, there have been many cool things now done with this data set and this method of analysis, including avian disease ecology (e.g. Ladeau et al. 2007). CERW seems to be an analytical favorite (Thogmartin et al. 2004, Royle and Kery 2007).

Works Cited
Griffith, Emily H., John R. Sauer, and J. Andrew Royle. “Traffic effects on bird counts on North American Breeding Bird Survey routes.” The Auk 127.2 (2010): 387-393.

LaDeau, Shannon L., A. Marm Kilpatrick, and Peter P. Marra. “West Nile virus emergence and large-scale declines of North American bird populations.”Nature 447.7145 (2007): 710-713.

Link, William A., John R. Sauer, and Daniel K. Niven. “Combining breeding bird survey and Christmas Bird Count data to evaluate seasonal components of population change in northern bobwhite.” The Journal of Wildlife Management72.1 (2008): 44-51.

Nielson, Ryan M., et al. “Estimating the response of ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) to the Conservation Reserve Program.” The Auk 125.2 (2008): 434-444.

Royle, J. Andrew, and Marc Kery. “A Bayesian state-space formulation of dynamic occupancy models.” Ecology 88.7 (2007): 1813-1823.

Aaron T. Porter, Scott H. Holan, Christopher K. Wikle, Bayesian semiparametric hierarchical empirical likelihood spatial models, Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, Volume 165, October 2015, Pages 78-90, ISSN 0378-3758,

Saracco, James F., David F. Desante, and Danielle R. Kaschube. “Assessing landbird monitoring programs and demographic causes of population trends.”Journal of Wildlife Management 72.8 (2008): 1665-1673.

Sauer, John R., and William A. Link. “Hierarchical modeling of population stability and species group attributes from survey data.” Ecology 83.6 (2002): 1743-1751.

Sauer, John R., et al. “A hierarchical model for estimating change in American woodcock populations.” Journal of Wildlife Management 72.1 (2008): 204-214.

Thogmartin, Wayne E., John R. Sauer, and Melinda G. Knutson. “A hierarchical spatial model of avian abundance with application to Cerulean Warblers.”Ecological Applications 14.6 (2004): 1766-1779.

Sauer, John R., et al. “The North American breeding bird survey 1966-2011: summary analysis and species accounts.” North American Fauna 79.79 (2013): 1-32.

Wayne E. Thogmartin, Melinda G. Knutson, and John R. Sauer (2006) Predicting Regional Abundance of Rare Grassland Birds with a Hierarchical Spatial Count Model. The Condor: February 2006, Vol. 108, No. 1, pp. 25-46.

Smith AC, Hudson M-AR, Downes CM, Francis CM (2015) Change Points in the Population Trends of Aerial-Insectivorous Birds in North America: Synchronized in Time across Species and Regions. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0130768. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130768

Thogmartin, Wayne E., and Melinda G. Knutson. “Scaling local species-habitat relations to the larger landscape with a hierarchical spatial count model.”Landscape Ecology 22.1 (2007): 61-75.

Wikle, Christopher K. “Hierarchical Bayesian models for predicting the spread of ecological processes.” Ecology 84.6 (2003): 1382-1394.

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