Adam Nicholas Howard Smith

PhD, (Sciences)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Bayesian Modelling of Direct and Indirect Effects of Marine Reserves on Fishes

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ecological studies are often based on counts of organisms in the field. They typically have complex designs and yield highly variable data with many zeros, properties that present methodological challenges when it comes to analysis. To overcome some of these challenges, Mr Smith developed methods for improving sampling designs and modelling ecological count data, including a method for modelling excess zeros that exploits a known ecological relationship between occupancy and abundance. He applied these methods to quantify the effects of marine-reserve protection on rocky reef fish fauna in north-eastern New Zealand. Densities of large snapper were found to be up to 19 times greater inside versus outside reserves. The abundant large snapper inside reserves appear to cause small fishes to more strongly favour refuge-providing habitats. Mr Smith’s research provides useful exemplar pathways for quantitative ecologists, with the aim of strengthening the design and inferences in ecological field studies.

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