Virtual Issue: Bio-demography


The study of demographic rates and the identification of factors that affect them are central to population ecology, community ecology, population genetics, quantitative genetics and evolutionary biology. Traditionally demography has been thought of as the study of human populations, but in recent years the field of bio-demography has emerged. The Journal of Animal Ecology has published numerous key papers in animal demography over the years. The journal’s most cited paper in the last two decades has been Graeme Caughley’s 1994 paper on directions in conservation biology. It focuses on demographic processes that are still central to managing populations; specifically why are some populations small, and what are the causes of population decline? Other demographic papers have also been widely picked up by the broader ecological community including papers describing factors that influence survival rates in migratory birds (Sillett and Holmes 2002), African ungulates (Owen-Smith, Mason and Ogutu 2005) and amphibians (Perret et al. 2003) amongst others. The advent of mark-recapture methods means much biodemography focuses on survival analyses such as work on fur seals by Schwarz et al. (2013) and work by Horswill et al. (2014) on macaroni penguins. However the Journal of Animal Ecology has also published work on reproductive performance across numerous species, including little brown myotis bats (Frick et al. 2010), lesser kestrels (Rodriguez and Bustamante 2003) and intertidal bivalves (Van der Meer et al. 2001). As well as publishing the statistical analysis of demographic rates, we also publish papers on the construction and analysis of demographic models. For example, Engen et al. (2001) used demographic models to investigate the time to extinction in barn swallows, and Coulson et al. (2010) used a demographic model of Soay sheep to demonstrate how ecological and evolutionary dynamics can be linked. We are particularly keen to publish demographic work linking the statistical analysis to theoretical models. To promote this, we recently published a ‘how to’ paper on the integral projection models (Rees et al. 2014).

Tim Coulson
Editor, Journal of Animal Ecology

Directions in Conservation Biology
G. Caughley

Variation in survivorship of a migratory songbird throughout its annual cycle
T. Scott Sillett and Richard T. Holmes

Correlates of survival rates for 10 African ungulate populations: density, rainfall and predation
Norman Owen-Smith, Darryl R. Mason and Joseph O. Ogutu

Transience, dispersal and survival rates in newt patchy populations
Nadège Perret, Roger Pradel, Claude Miaud, Odile Grolet and Pierre Joly

Top-down and bottom-up influences on demographic rates of Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella
Lisa K. Schwarz, Michael E. Goebel, Daniel P. Costa and A. Marm Kilpatrick

Survival in macaroni penguins and the relative importance of different drivers: individual traits, predation pressure and environmental variability
Catharine Horswill, Jason Matthiopoulos, Jonathan A. Green, Michael P. Meredith, Jaume Forcada, Helen Peat, Mark Preston, Phil N. Trathan and Norman Ratcliffe

Influence of climate and reproductive timing on demography of little brown myotis Myotis lucifugus
Winifred F. Frick, D. Scott Reynolds and Thomas H. Kunz

The effect of weather on lesser kestrel breeding success: can climate change explain historical population declines?
Carlos Rodríguez and Javier Bustamante

Long-term variability in secondary production of an intertidal bivalve population is primarily a matter of recruitment variability
Jaap Van Der Meer, Jan J. Beukema and Rob Dekker

Stochastic population dynamics and time to extinction of a declining population of barn swallows
Steinar Engen, Bernt-erik Sæther and Anders Pape Mølle

Using evolutionary demography to link life history theory, quantitative genetics and population ecology
Tim Coulson, Shripad Tuljapurkar and Dylan Z. Childs

Building integral projection models: a user's guide
Mark Rees, Dylan Z. Childs and Stephen P. Ellner

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