Incorporating antenna detections into abundance estimates of fish

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
By: , and 

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Abstract

Autonomous passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag antennas are commonly used to detect fish marked with PIT tags but cannot detect unmarked fish, creating challenges for abundance estimation. Here we describe an approach to estimate abundance from paired physical capture and antenna detection data in closed and open mark-recapture models. Additionally, for open models, we develop an approach that incorporates uncertainty in fish size, because fish size changes through time (as fish grow bigger) but is unknown if fish are not physically captured (e.g., only detected on antennas). Incorporation of size uncertainty allows for estimation of size-specific abundances and demonstrates a generally useful method for obtaining state-specific abundances estimates under state uncertainty. Simulation studies comparing models with and without antenna detections illustrate that the benefit of our approach increases as a larger proportion of the population is marked. When applied to two field data sets, our approach to incorporating antenna detections reduced uncertainty in abundance substantially. We conclude that PIT antennas hold great potential for improving abundance estimation, despite the challenges they present.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Incorporating antenna detections into abundance estimates of fish
Series title Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
DOI 10.1139/cjfas-2021-0003
Edition Online First
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Canadian Science Publishing
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
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