Modeling false positives

By:  and 



Many of the models we are concerned with included explicit descriptions of false negative errors. However, false positive errors can also be commin in practice, especially in citizen science applications where observer skill is highly variable. In addition, new methods which determine detection based on statistical classification or machine learning methods are also prone to false positive errors which must be accounted for. An early treatment of the false positive detection problem by Royle & Link (2006) recognized that false positive errors can be accommodated by a mixture model for detection probability: one value of detection at occupied sites and another non-zero value at unoccupied sites. This model has been extended greatly in recent years to include more informative data about false positives including validation or confirmation data (Miller et al. 2011) and multiple detection methods, among others. A new frontier for the application of false positives models lies in the use of modern technologies such as bioacoustics for efficient automated monitoring. For these technologies to realize their promise there must be improvements in automated processing of the vast quantities of output produced. Statistical classification methods (machine learning) are fallible and necessarily produce false positive detections. Therefore models which account for this process are necessary (Chambert et al. 2017). It stands to reason that false positives will need to be accounted for in other new technologies that rely on automated digital processing, including eDNA, genetic barcoding, and automated detection in remote camera studies. We devise a new occupancy model that integrates data from bioacoustics sampling with an occupancy model. This integrated model allows occupancy probability to inform species classification of samples and vice versa bioacoustics detection data inform occupancy. We provide a proof of concept for this new model in this chapter. As the core hierarchical model for the false positives models covered in this chapter are just ordinary occupancy models, extension of the ideas to open systems poses no technical challenges. We provide a suite of illustrations of these extensions. Perhaps the most prominent mechanism that leads to false positive errors it he mis-classification of species detections, or the confusion of one species for another. Very little work has been done on developing models based on this mechanistic understanding although Chambert et al. (2018) develop this idea as a 2-species occupancy model with error. We believe one important area of future research is to extend these ideas to truly multi-species systems.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Modeling false positives
Chapter 7
Volume 2
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Academic Press
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 54 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Applied hierarchical modeling in ecology: Analysis of distribution, abundance and species richness in R and BUGS
First page 401
Last page 454
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table