Accounting for Behavioral Response to Capture when Estimating Population Size from Hair Snare Studies with Missing Data

Ben Augustine’s paper on behavioral effects and subsampling has been accepted for publication in Methods in Ecology and Evolution and is now available online. The work is particularly applicable to studies which use hair snares to capture animals. Snares are often baited causing a positive behavioral effect. Moreover, researchers often collect more samples than can be analyzed and so they identify individuals from only a fraction of the samples. This makes it possible to miss the first time that an individual is captured and the standard closed model with behavioral effects, M_{tb}, produces biased estimates of abundance when the subsampling is ignored. Ben’s approach treats the number of hair samples collected on each occasion for each individual as missing data and samples from the joint posterior distribution using MCMC sampling. Work is currently underway to extend the model to allow for multiple traps per occasion and different subsampling strategies.

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