Using a five-factored structured decision analysis to evaluate the extinction risk of Atlantic sturgeon ( Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus )
Wesley, S.P.; Kimberly Damon-Randall
Biological Conservation 141(11): 0-2911
In 2005, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service initiated a status review of Atlantic sturgeon to determine if the species warranted a threatened or endangered listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Atlantic sturgeon status review team intended to rely on previously used methods to assess extinction risk, but found that most quantitative extinction risk analyses were performed on data-rich populations and often did not systematically consider the five factors specified in Section 4(a)(1) of the ESA as required for listing a species. Taking cues from structured decision analysis theory, the team created a framework, based around the five factors, which can be used to evaluate the status of data-poor species. Potential scoring biases were minimized in this analysis by providing experts with standardized reference points for scoring, dividing the analysis into smaller units, and using both individual and group opinion. Using this five-factored structured decision analysis, the status review team recommended that three of the five distinct population segments warranted listing as threatened. The status review team offers their approach to increase transparency about their scientific recommendation and to aid other teams who are tasked with systematically evaluating the status of data-poor species.