Mar 29, 2020

Integrating spatial capture-recapture models with variable individual identifiability

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Joel RuprechtM. M. Rowland


Many applications in ecology depend on unbiased and precise estimates of animal population density. Spatial capture recapture models and their variants have become the preferred tool for estimating densities of carnivores. Within the spatial capture-recapture family are variants that require individual identification of all encounters (spatial capture-recapture), individual identification of a subset of a population (spatial mark-resight), or no individual identification (spatial count). In addition, these models can incorporate telemetry data (all models) and the marking process (spatial mark-resight). However, the consistency of results among methods and the relative precision of estimates in a real-world setting are unknown. Consequently, it is unclear how much and what type of data are needed to achieve satisfactory density estimates. We tested a suite of models to estimate population densities of black bears (Ursus americanus), bobcats (Lynx rufus), cougars (Puma concolor), and coyotes (Canis latrans). For each species we genotyped fecal DNA collected with detection dogs. A subset of individuals from each species were affixed with GPS collars bearing unique markings to be resighted by remote cameras set on a 1 km grid. We ...Continue Reading

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