8:30 am - 9:30 am
849 General Services Building (GSB), General Services Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB
A graduate seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is a RENR PhD final exam seminar for Derek Keeping. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.
Thesis Topic: Tracking a better way to count wildlife: testing the Formozov-Malyshev-Pereleshin (FMP) formula in the Kalahari
Abstract: In snowy and sandy environments around the world, an abundance of readily-observable animal tracks tempts their use for measuring and monitoring animal populations. Despite this, there is no commonly employed method to explicitly estimate population density from track counts. Is it even possible? A formula devised almost 90 years ago in Russia, but which has remained largely unknown to the English-speaking scientific community, suggests it is. I tested the Formozov-Malyshev-Pereleshin (FMP) formula using simulations of both virtual and real animal movement data, in addition to field studies in the Kalahari, Botswana. I found no flaw in the simple FMP equation; it appears that the number of animals intercepting transects during a controlled time period depends simply on the density of those animals and how far they walk during that period. I challenged the status quo methods of counting wildlife in savanna Africa (aerial survey and distance sampling) and found that track surveys conducted by local communities returned comparable population estimates, improved distribution mapping, captured far more species simultaneously, and could be done at a fraction the cost. My findings have implications for how track data are treated, and for greater involvement of local citizen scientists in conservation monitoring.
Derek Keeping – PhD with Dr. Lee Foote