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Title: Generalized linear models and point count data: statistical considerations for the design and analysis of monitoring studies

Author: Seavy, Nathaniel E.; Quader, Suhel; Alexander, John D.; Ralph, C. John;

Date: 2005

Source: In: Ralph, C. John; Rich, Terrell D., editors 2005. Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference. 2002 March 20-24; Asilomar, California, Volume 2 Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191. Albany, CA: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: p. 744-753

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: The success of avian monitoring programs to effectively guide management decisions requires that studies be efficiently designed and data be properly analyzed. A complicating factor is that point count surveys often generate data with non-normal distributional properties. In this paper we review methods of dealing with deviations from normal assumptions, and we focus on the application of generalized linear models (GLMs). We also discuss problems associated with overdispersion (more variation than expected). In order to evaluate the statistical power of these models to detect differences in bird abundance, it is necessary for biologists to identify the effect size they believe is biologically significant in their system. We illustrate one solution to this challenge by discussing the design of a monitoring program intended to detect changes in bird abundance as a result of Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) reduction projects in central Oregon. We estimate biologically significant effect sizes by using GLMs to describe variation in bird abundance relative to natural variation in juniper cover. These analyses suggest that for species typically positively associated with juniper cover, a 60-80 percent decrease in abundance may be expected as a result of juniper reduction projects. With these estimates of expected effect size and preliminary data on bird abundance, we use computer simulations to investigate the power of GLMs. Our simulations demonstrate that when data are not overdispersed and sample sizes are relatively large, the statistical power of GLMs is approximated well by formulas that are currently available in the bird literature for other statistical techniques. When data are overdispersed, as may be the case with most point count data, power is reduced.

Keywords: Generalized linear models, juniper removal, monitoring, overdispersion, point count, Poisson ,

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Seavy, Nathaniel E.; Quader, Suhel; Alexander, John D.; Ralph, C. John 2005. Generalized linear models and point count data: statistical considerations for the design and analysis of monitoring studies. In: Ralph, C. John; Rich, Terrell D., editors 2005. Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference. 2002 March 20-24; Asilomar, California, Volume 2 Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191. Albany, CA: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: p. 744-753

 


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