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Although many ecological monitoring programs are now in place, the use of resulting data to draw inferences about changes in biodiversity is problematic. The difficulty arises because of the inability to count all animals present in any sampled area. This inability results not only in underestimation of species richness but also in potentially misleading comparisons of species richness over time and space. We recommend the use of probabilistic estimators for estimating species richness and related parameters (e.g., rate of change in species richness, local extinction probability, local turnover, local colonization) when animal detection probabilities are <1. We illustrate these methods using data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey obtained along survey routes in Maryland. We also introduce software to implement these estimation methods.
Additional Publication Details
Estimation of species richness and parameters reflecting community dynamics using data from ecological monitoring programs