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New methods and technologies for regional-scale abundance estimation of land-breeding marine animals: application to Adélie penguin populations in East Antarctica

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 17:23 authored by Southwell, C, McKinlay, J, Low, M, Wilson, D, Newbery, K, Jan LieserJan Lieser, Emmerson, L
Land-breeding marine animals such as penguins, flying seabirds and pinnipeds are important components of marine ecosystems, and their abundance has been used extensively as an indication of ecosystem status and change. Until recently, many efforts to measure and monitor abundance of these species’ groups have focussed on smaller populations and spatial scales, and efforts to account for perception bias and availability bias have been variable and often ad hoc. We describe a suite of new methods, technologies and estimation procedures for cost-effective, large-scale abundance estimation within a general estimation framework and illustrate their application on large Adélie penguin populations in two regions of East Antarctica. The methods include photographic sample counts, automated cameras for collecting availability data, and bootstrap estimation to adjust counts for the sampling fraction, perception bias, and availability bias, and are applicable for a range of land-breeding marine species. The methods will improve our ability to obtain population data over large spatial and population scales within tight logistic, environmental and time constraints. This first application of the methods has given new insights into the biases and uncertainties in abundance estimation for penguins and other land-breeding marine species. We provide guidelines for applying the methods in future surveys.


Publication title

Polar Biology










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies



Place of publication

175 Fifth Ave, New York, USA, Ny, 10010

Rights statement

Copyright 2013 Springer-Verlag

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems

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