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Uncertainty and Decision-making for Species-at-Risk Assessments in Canada

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dc.contributor.advisor Nudds, Thomas Trout, Laura 2013-09-10T17:13:29Z 2013-09-10T17:13:29Z 2013-08 2013-06-20 2013-09-10
dc.description.abstract This thesis investigated how uncertainty affects assessments of species’ extinction risk. Data from 374 vertebrate species assessments were input into a decision-making algorithm that emulated assessment methods for identifying (1) whether DUs could be validated based on an empirical test of ‘evolutionary significance’, (2) how expert opinion influenced threat status, and (3) how ecological uncertainty influences risk assignment and the use of expert opinion. Most DUs did not qualify as ‘significant’ designatable entities. Species with higher ecological uncertainty were more likely to be up-designated in light of expert opinion; the opposite pattern obtained for the rest. Current approaches of defining DUs and addressing uncertainty in risk assessments are unlikely to produce repeatable results, which has the potential to compromise reliability and transparency. Efforts to reduce reliance on qualitative criteria, and to directly incorporate methods to deal with uncertainty into assessment protocols, could improve reliability and confidence in species assessments. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Industrial Postgraduate Scholarship Program (NSERC-IPS1) and The National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI) en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada *
dc.rights.uri *
dc.subject uncertainty en_US
dc.subject species-at-risk en_US
dc.subject COSEWIC en_US
dc.subject designatable units en_US
dc.subject extinction en_US
dc.subject risk assessment en_US
dc.subject conservation en_US
dc.title Uncertainty and Decision-making for Species-at-Risk Assessments in Canada en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US Integrative Biology en_US Master of Science en_US Department of Integrative Biology en_US
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Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada