Titles and legends from A framework for estimating the determinants of spatial and temporal variation in vital rates and inferring the occurrence of unobserved extreme events

We develop a general framework that combines long-term tag–recapture data and powerful statistical and modelling techniques to investigate how population, environmental and climate factors determine variation in vital rates and population dynamics in an animal species, using as a case study the population of brown trout living in Upper Volaja (Western Slovenia). This population has been monitored since 2004. Upper Volaja is a sink, receiving individuals from a source population living above a waterfall. We estimate the numerical contribution of the source population on the sink population and test the effects of temperature, population density and extreme events on variation in vital rates among 2647 individually tagged brown trout. We found that individuals dispersing downstream from the source population help maintain high population densities in the sink population despite poor recruitment. The best model of survival for individuals older than juveniles includes additive effects of birth cohort and sampling occasion. Fast growth of older cohorts and higher population densities in 2004–2005 suggest very low population densities in the late 1990s, which we hypothesize were caused by a flash flood that strongly reduced population size and created the habitat conditions for faster individual growth and transient higher population densities after the extreme event.