Few species are likely to be so evident that they will always be detected at a site when present. Recently a model has been developed that enables estimation of the proportion of area occupied, when the target species is not detected with certainty. Here we apply this modeling approach to data collected on terrestrial salamanders in the Plethodon glutinosus complex in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA, and wish to address the question 'how accurately does the fitted model represent the data?' The goodness-of-fit of the model needs to be assessed in order to make accurate inferences. This article presents a method where a simple Pearson chi-square statistic is calculated and a parametric bootstrap procedure is used to determine whether the observed statistic is unusually large. We found evidence that the most global model considered provides a poor fit to the data, hence estimated an overdispersion factor to adjust model selection procedures and inflate standard errors. Two hypothetical datasets with known assumption violations are also analyzed, illustrating that the method may be used to guide researchers to making appropriate inferences. The results of a simulation study are presented to provide a broader view of the methods properties.
Additional Publication Details
Assessing the fit of site-occupancy models
Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics