CIE Spotlight: Integrating acoustic telemetry into mark-recapture models to improve the precision of apparent survival and abundance estimates

Adam B.

Adam B.

Title: Integrating acoustic telemetry into mark-recapture models to improve the precision of apparent survival and abundance estimates

Authors: Dudgeon, Christine L.; Pollock, Kenneth H.; Braccini, J. Matias; Semmens, Jayson M.; Barnett, Adam

Source: OECOLOGIA, 178 (3):761-772, JUL 2015

Brief summary of the paper: Capture–mark–recapture models are useful tools for estimating demographic parameters but often result in low precision when recapture rates are low. Low recapture rates are typical in many study systems including fishing-based studies. Incorporating auxiliary data into the models can improve precision and in some cases enable parameter estimation.

Here, we present a novel application of acoustic telemetry for the estimation of apparent survival and abundance within capture–mark–recapture analysis using open population models.

Our case study is based on simultaneously collecting longline fishing and acoustic telemetry data for a large mobile apex predator, the broadnose sevengill shark (Notorhynchus cepedianus), at a coastal site in Tasmania, Australia.

Cormack–Jolly–Seber models showed that longline data alone had very low recapture rates while acoustic telemetry data for the same time period resulted in at least tenfold higher recapture rates.

The apparent survival estimates were similar for the two datasets but the acoustic telemetry data showed much greater precision and enabled apparent survival parameter estimation for one dataset, which was inestimable using fishing data alone. Combined acoustic telemetry and longline data were incorporated into Jolly–Seber models using a Monte Carlo simulation approach. Abundance estimates were comparable to those with longline data only; however, the inclusion of acoustic telemetry data increased precision in the estimates.

We conclude that acoustic telemetry is a useful tool for incorporating in capture–mark–recapture studies in the marine environment. Future studies should consider the application of acoustic telemetry within this framework when setting up the study design and sampling program.