QERM graduate student, Hannah Sipe, will be presenting at the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) Quantitative Seminar on May 17. She is a master’s student in Sarah Converse’s lab. See the Quantitative Seminar page for more information about the series.
Hannah Sipe (Graduate Student, QERM)
Title: Washington State Common Loons: Multi-state occupancy models using citizen science and survey data
Common Loons (Gavia immer) are a state listed Sensitive species in Washington State. However, little is known about Common Loon distribution or the factors affecting distribution within Washington state. Summer habitat for Common Loons is found in isolated and difficult to survey areas, as such there is limited biologist survey data available. Given the size of the area of interest, obtaining the data necessary for a robust analysis of state-wide Common Loon occupancy presents a challenge. Citizen science eBird data is easily available in large quantities and can be used in distribution modeling. The state survey data and citizen science data were integrated in a multi-state occupancy model, with consideration for the structure of each data type and the uncertainty inherent in the citizen science eBird data. These extensions to the traditional multi-state occupancy model will be discussed in application to Common Loons. Results of the occupancy model, significant habitat associations, and detection-effort relationships determined during modeling will be presented, as well as discussing issues relating to the use of citizen science data in the context of this application. The findings from this project will be used to create an optimized survey strategy for state biologists and will help management to make informed conservation decisions for Common Loons in Washington State.