Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 152, Supplement 2, pp 445–455

Spatially explicit capture–recapture methods to estimate minke whale density from data collected at bottom-mounted hydrophones


  • Tiago A. Marques
    • Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental ModellingUniversity of St Andrews
    • Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental ModellingUniversity of St Andrews
  • Stephen W. Martin
    • Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific
  • David K. Mellinger
    • Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources StudiesOregon State University
  • Susan Jarvis
    • Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division
  • Ronald P. Morrissey
    • Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division
  • Carroll-Anne Ciminello
    • Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division
  • Nancy DiMarzio
    • Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division
EURING Proceedings

DOI: 10.1007/s10336-010-0535-7

Cite this article as:
Marques, T.A., Thomas, L., Martin, S.W. et al. J Ornithol (2012) 152: 445. doi:10.1007/s10336-010-0535-7


Estimation of cetacean abundance or density using visual methods can be cost-ineffective under many scenarios. Methods based on acoustic data have recently been proposed as an alternative, and could potentially be more effective for visually elusive species that produce loud sounds. Motivated by a dataset of minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) “boing” sounds detected at multiple hydrophones at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), we present an approach to estimate density or abundance based on spatially explicit capture–recapture (SECR) methods. We implement the proposed methods in both a likelihood and a Bayesian framework. The point estimates for abundance and detection parameters from both implementation methods are very similar and agree well with current knowledge about the species. The two implementation approaches are compared in a small simulation study. While the Bayesian approach might be easier to generalize, the likelihood approach is faster to implement (at least in simple cases like the one presented here) and more readily amenable to model selection. SECR methods seem to be a strong candidate for estimating density from acoustic data where recaptures of sound at multiple acoustic sensors are available, and we anticipate further development of related methodologies.


Minke whale Passive acoustic monitoring Proximity detector Spatially explicit capture recapture (SECR) OpenBUGS

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2010