Statistical Science

Bayesian Animal Survival Estimation

S. P. Brooks, E. A. Catchpole, and B. J. T. Morgan

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We present the Bayesian approach to estimating parameters associated with animal survival on the basis of data arising from mark recovery and recapture studies. We provide two examples, beginning with a discussion of band-return models and examining data gathered from observations of blue winged teal (Aas discors), ringed as nestlings. We then look at open population recapture models, focusing on the Cormack- Jolly-Seber model, and examine this model in the context of a data set on European dippers (Cinclus cinclus). The Bayesian procedures are shown to be straightforward and provide a convenient framework for model-averaging, which incorporates the uncertainty due to model selection into the inference process. Sufficient detail is provided so that readers who wish to employ the Bayesian approach in this field can do so with ease. An example of BUGS code is also provided.

Article information

Statist. Sci., Volume 15, Number 4 (2000), 357-376.

First available in Project Euclid: 24 December 2001

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band-return Bayesian analysis BUGS capture-recapture product­multinomial model averaging ring­recovery Cormack-Jolly-Seber


Brooks, S. P.; Catchpole, E. A.; Morgan, B. J. T. Bayesian Animal Survival Estimation. Statist. Sci. 15 (2000), no. 4, 357--376. doi:10.1214/ss/1009213003.

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