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Modeling misidentification errors in capture-recapture studies using photographic identification of evolving marks

Ecology

By:
, , , and
DOI: 10.1890/08-0304.1

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Abstract

Misidentification of animals is potentially important when naturally existing features (natural tags) are used to identify individual animals in a capture-recapture study. Photographic identification (photoID) typically uses photographic images of animals' naturally existing features as tags (photographic tags) and is subject to two main causes of identification errors: those related to quality of photographs (non-evolving natural tags) and those related to changes in natural marks (evolving natural tags). The conventional methods for analysis of capture-recapture data do not account for identification errors, and to do so requires a detailed understanding of the misidentification mechanism. Focusing on the situation where errors are due to evolving natural tags, we propose a misidentification mechanism and outline a framework for modeling the effect of misidentification in closed population studies. We introduce methods for estimating population size based on this model. Using a simulation study, we show that conventional estimators can seriously overestimate population size when errors due to misidentification are ignored, and that, in comparison, our new estimators have better properties except in cases with low capture probabilities (<0.2) or low misidentification rates (<2.5%). ?? 2009 by the Ecological Society of America.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Modeling misidentification errors in capture-recapture studies using photographic identification of evolving marks
Series title:
Ecology
DOI:
10.1890/08-0304.1
Volume
90
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Ecology
First page:
3
Last page:
9