Efforts to understand population dynamics and identify high-quality habitat require information about spatial variation in demographic parameters. However, estimating demographic parameters typically requires labor-intensive capture–recapture methods that are difficult to implement over large spatial extents. Spatially explicit integrated population models (IPMs) provide a solution by accommodating spatial capture–recapture (SCR) data collected at a small number of sites with survey data that may be collected over a much larger extent. We extended the spatial IPM framework to include a spatio-temporal point process model for recruitment, and we applied the model to 4 yr of SCR and distance-sampling data on Canada Warblers (Cardellina canadensis) near the southern extent of the species' breeding range in North Carolina, USA, where climate change is predicted to cause population declines and distributional shifts toward higher elevations. To characterize spatial variation in demographic parameters over the climate gradient in our study area, we modeled density, survival, and per capita recruitment as functions of elevation. We used a male-only model because males comprised >90% of our point-count detections. Apparent survival was low but increased with elevation, from 0.040 (95% credible interval [CI]: 0.0032–0.12) at 900 m to 0.29 (95% CI: 0.16–0.42) at 1,500 m. Recruitment was not strongly associated with elevation, yet density varied greatly, from <0.03 males ha–1 below 1,000 m to >0.2 males ha–1 above 1,400 m. Point estimates of population growth rate were <1 at all elevations, but 95% CIs included 1. Additional research is needed to assess the possibility of a long-term decline and to examine the effects of abiotic variables and biotic interactions on the demographic parameters influencing the species' distribution. The modeling framework developed here provides a platform for addressing these issues and advancing knowledge about spatial demography and population dynamics.
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Vol. 135 • No. 3