Modeling Brook Trout Extirpation
Speaker: Professor Eric P. Smith (Virginia Tech)
Brook trout were abundant in many streams in the eastern United States in the 1700s. Human perturbation has lead to the extirpation of brook trout in many streams. The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (EBTJV) was formed in 2005 to form partnerships in preserving and restoring brook trout habitat. To aid in the management process, a large database was compiled by EBTJV covering roughly 5000 subwatersheds with information on brook trout status and land use and other metrics. The data have been analyzed using several approaches using CART and spatial clustering. Although a CART model provides adequate classification, a spatial approach improved classification. Measures of restoration and preservation are developed based on the probabilities of extirpation using model-based estimates and also estimates that incorporate information from neighbors.