SeaBird is a generalised age- and/or stage-structured seabird population dynamics model that allows a great deal of flexibility in specifying the population dynamics, parameter estimation, and model outputs. The manual provides information on how to use SeaBird, including how to run it, how to set up the input files, descriptions of the population dynamics and estimation methods, and how to generate outputs. It also contains a brief overview of the technical specifications of the software, and examples of models using SeaBird. SeaBird is designed for flexibility. It allows the user to structure the modelled population in the way that best suits the available data. Depending on these data the user may which to specify the population structure using some or all of the following characteristics: age, life stage (e.g., immature or mature), sex, or behaviour (e.g., in any year mature birds may be classified as breeders or non-breeders). Interactions with fisheries can be modelled and the user can choose the sequence of events in a model year. A wide variety of types of data can be used. Estimation can be by maximum likelihood or Bayesian. As well as generating point estimates of the parameters of interest, SeaBird can calculate likelihood or posterior profiles and can generate Bayesian posterior distributions using Monte Carlo Markov Chain methods. SeaBird can project population status into the future under various alternative scenarios. SeaBird was designed to share many features and concepts with the fishery stock assessment model CASAL (Bull et al. 2005) and users of the latter program will find it easy to adapt to SeaBird. However, there are some important differences between the programs that are described.
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(Final Fisheries Report to the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries)