Supplementary tables and figures from Detection of Allee effects in marine fishes: analytical biases generated by data availability and model selection

2017-08-08T14:44:03Z (GMT) by Tommi Perälä Anna Kuparinen
The demographic Allee effect, or depensation, implies positive association between per capita population growth rate and population size at low abundances, thereby lowering growth ability of sparse populations. This can have far-reaching consequences on population recovery ability and colonization success. In the context of marine fishes, there is a widespread perception that Allee effects are rare or non-existent. However, studies that have failed to detect Allee effects in marine fishes have suffered from several fundamental methodological and data limitations. In the present study, we challenge the prevailing perception about the rarity of Allee effects by analysing nine populations of Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), using Bayesian statistical methods. We find that populations of the same species can show either strong evidence for Allee effects or compensation. We explicitly demonstrate how the evidence for Allee effects is strongly provisional on observations made at low population abundances. We contrast our statistical approach with previous attempts to detect Allee effects and illustrate methodological issues that can lead to erroneous conclusions about the nature of population dynamics at low abundance. The present study demonstrates that there is no substantive scientific basis to support the perception that Allee effects are rare or non-existent in marine fishes.