Dr. Res Altwegg, University of Cape Town: Demography and the range dynamics of species with imperfect detection
Further information about Dr. Altwegg's research can be found here.
Species are observed shifting their ranges, but is it due to climate change or other factors? Current models relating species ranges to climate have limited capacity to answer this question because they typically are static rather than dynamic, assume that species ranges are known perfectly, and do not include demographic mechanisms that underpin spatio-temporal changes in population size. I propose that occupancy models could overcome some of these limitations, and show an application to hadeda ibises (Bostrychia hagedash) in South Africa, where they currently expand their range rapidly. If climate drives range shifts, its effects on survival and reproduction should also be detectable. A parallel project therefore looks at the demography of hadedas and other birds, and how it is affected by climate.