Precise and unbiased estimates of demographic parameters are necessary for effective population monitoring and to parameterize population models (e.g., population viability analyses). This is especially important for endangered species, where recovery planning and managers' decisions can influence species persistence. In this study, we used mark–recapture methods to estimate survival of fledged juveniles (hatch-yr [HY]) and adult (after-hatch-yr [AHY]) Laysan ducks (Anas laysanensis), an endangered anatid restricted to Laysan Island in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. To better understand population dynamics, we examined how survival varied as a function of Laysan duck density during 1998–2004. Using random effects models, we also quantified process variation in survival, thereby quantifying the appropriate source of variation for future population models. The dataset supported variation in survival that was time (yr), age (AHY vs. HY), and sex specific. Due to small sample sizes, we did not examine time specificity in the survival of HY ducks. Survival of HY ducks was 0.832 (SE = 0.087) for females (n = 21) and 0.999 (SE < 0.001) for males (n = 15) during 1998–2001. Trends in time and density lacked support as sources of variation in the survival of AHY ducks during 1998–2004. After-hatch-year survival ranged from 0.792 (SE = 0.033) to 0.999 (SE < 0.001). Where we modeled survival as a random effect, annual survival for AHY females was 0.881 (SE = 0.017) and process variation (σS) was 0.034. For AHY males, annual survival (μS) was 0.906 (SE = 0.019) and process variation (σS) was 0.040. This information will improve existing population viability analysis models for Laysan ducks. We believe that monitoring the source and translocation populations will be paramount for increasing our understanding of Laysan duck dynamics, recovery planning, and population management.
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Vol. 71 • No. 2