Double-observer line transect surveys with Markov-modulated Poisson process models for overdispersed animal availability
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We develop maximum likelihood methods for line transect surveys in which animals go undetected at distance zero, either because they are stochastically unavailable while within view or because they are missed when they are available. These incorporate a Markov-modulated Poisson process model for animal availability, allowing more clustered availability events than is possible with Poisson availability models. They include a mark-recapture component arising from the independent-observer survey, leading to more accurate estimation of detection probability given availability. We develop models for situations in which (a) multiple detections of the same individual are possible and (b) some or all of the availability process parameters are estimated from the line transect survey itself, rather than from independent data. We investigate estimator performance by simulation, and compare the multiple-detection estimators with estimators that use only initial detections of individuals, and with a single-observer estimator. Simultaneous estimation of detection function parameters and availability model parameters is shown to be feasible from the line transect survey alone with multiple detections and double-observer data but not with single-observer data. Recording multiple detections of individuals improves estimator precision substantially when estimating the availability model parameters from survey data, and we recommend that these data be gathered. We apply the methods to estimate detection probability from a double-observer survey of North Atlantic minke whales, and find that double-observer data greatly improve estimator precision here too.
Borchers , D L & Langrock , R 2015 , ' Double-observer line transect surveys with Markov-modulated Poisson process models for overdispersed animal availability ' Biometrics , vol 71 , no. 4 , pp. 1060-1069 . DOI: 10.1111/biom.12341
© 2015 The Authors Biometrics published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Biometric Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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