Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 27.1 (2004) Pages: 87-91

Individual heterogeneity and identifiability in capture-recapture models

Link, W. A.


Individual heterogeneity in detection probabilities is a far more serious problem for capture-recapture modeling than has previously been recognized. In this note, I illustrate that population size is not an identifiable parameter under the general closed population mark-recapture model Mh. The problem of identifiability is obvious if the population includes individuals with pi = 0, but persists even when it is assumed that individual detection probabilities are bounded away from zero. Identifiability may be attained within parametric families of distributions for pi, but not among parametric families of distributions. Consequently, in the presence of individual heterogeneity in detection probability, capture-recapture analysis is strongly model dependent.


Capture-recapture, Detection probability, Heterogeneity, Identifiability, Population estimation


Link, W. A., 2004. Individual heterogeneity and identifiability in capture-recapture models. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 27: 87-91




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