Regional avian species declines estimated from volunteer-collected long-term data using List Length Analysis

Szabo, J. K., Vesk, P. A., Baxter, P. W. J., & Possingham, H. P. (2010) Regional avian species declines estimated from volunteer-collected long-term data using List Length Analysis. Ecological Applications, 20(8), pp. 2157-2169.

View at publisher (open access)


Long-term systematic population monitoring data sets are rare but are essential in identifying changes in species abundance. In contrast, community groups and natural history organizations have collected many species lists. These represent a large, untapped source of information on changes in abundance but are generally considered of little value. The major problem with using species lists to detect population changes is that the amount of effort used to obtain the list is often uncontrolled and usually unknown. It has been suggested that using the number of species on the list, the "list length," can be a measure of effort. This paper significantly extends the utility of Franklin's approach using Bayesian logistic regression. We demonstrate the value of List Length Analysis to model changes in species prevalence (i.e., the proportion of lists on which the species occurs) using bird lists collected by a local bird club over 40 years around Brisbane, southeast Queensland, Australia. We estimate the magnitude and certainty of change for 269 bird species and calculate the probabilities that there have been declines and increases of given magnitudes. List Length Analysis confirmed suspected species declines and increases. This method is an important complement to systematically designed intensive monitoring schemes and provides a means of utilizing data that may otherwise be deemed useless. The results of List Length Analysis can be used for targeting species of conservation concern for listing purposes or for more intensive monitoring. While Bayesian methods are not essential for List Length Analysis, they can offer more flexibility in interrogating the data and are able to provide a range of parameters that are easy to interpret and can facilitate conservation listing and prioritization. © 2010 by the Ecological Society of America.

Impact and interest:

32 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™
30 citations in Web of Science®

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

34 since deposited on 10 Mar 2015
27 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 82405
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Avifauna, Bayesian logistic regression, Birds, Citizen science, Conservation, Detecting population change, Historical records, Museum data, Presence-only data, Relative abundance, abundance, Bayesian analysis, bird, data set, estimation method, historical record, monitoring, museum, population decline, prioritization, probability, regression analysis, species conservation, animal, article, ecosystem, environmental monitoring, methodology, physiology, population dynamics, Animals, Australia, Brisbane, Queensland, Aves
DOI: 10.1890/09-0877.1
ISSN: 10510761 (ISSN)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Ecological Society of America
Deposited On: 10 Mar 2015 06:38
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2015 04:51

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page