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Insects 2017, 8(2), 51; doi:10.3390/insects8020051

Estimating Density and Temperature Dependence of Juvenile Vital Rates Using a Hidden Markov Model

1
Department of Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33146, USA
2
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami, FL 33156, USA
Current address: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
Academic Editor: Jaret C. Daniels
Received: 16 December 2016 / Revised: 27 March 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 15 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Butterfly Conservation)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [869 KB, uploaded 15 May 2017]   |  

Abstract

Organisms in the wild have cryptic life stages that are sensitive to changing environmental conditions and can be difficult to survey. In this study, I used mark-recapture methods to repeatedly survey Anaea aidea (Nymphalidae) caterpillars in nature, then modeled caterpillar demography as a hidden Markov process to assess if temporal variability in temperature and density influence the survival and growth of A. aidea over time. Individual encounter histories result from the joint likelihood of being alive and observed in a particular stage, and I have included hidden states by separating demography and observations into parallel and independent processes. I constructed a demographic matrix containing the probabilities of all possible fates for each stage, including hidden states, e.g., eggs and pupae. I observed both dead and live caterpillars with high probability. Peak caterpillar abundance attracted multiple predators, and survival of fifth instars declined as per capita predation rate increased through spring. A time lag between predator and prey abundance was likely the cause of improved fifth instar survival estimated at high density. Growth rates showed an increase with temperature, but the preferred model did not include temperature. This work illustrates how state-space models can include unobservable stages and hidden state processes to evaluate how environmental factors influence vital rates of cryptic life stages in the wild. View Full-Text
Keywords: Anaea aidea; caterpillar demography; multi-state mark–recapture; state-space model; stage-structured matrix Anaea aidea; caterpillar demography; multi-state mark–recapture; state-space model; stage-structured matrix
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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McElderry, R.M. Estimating Density and Temperature Dependence of Juvenile Vital Rates Using a Hidden Markov Model. Insects 2017, 8, 51.

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