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Demographic modeling of citizen science data informs habitat preferences and population dynamics of recovering fishes

We have shown that site-structured demographic models can be combined with citizen science data obtained at large spatial and temporal scales and used to assess population trends, habitat effects, and inter-annual variability in production. In the case of Goliath grouper, these data demonstrate a dramatic increase in population abundance that is supported by independent data sets, i.e., fisher catch per unit effort from a Southern Florida creel survey (Cass-Calay and Schmidt 2009). In the case of mutton snapper, by contrast, available data demonstrate an approximately stable abundance since the early 1990s. Demographic models are likely to be a more efficient use of available data than generalized linear models (see de Valpine 2003), although the latter are frequently used to analyze survey data such as these.  

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