Environmental and Ecological Statistics

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 41-59

First online:

A robust design capture-recapture model with multiple age classes augmented with population assignment data

  • Zhi WenAffiliated withOffice of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration Email author 
  • , James D. NicholsAffiliated withPatuxent Wildlife Research Center, USGS
  • , Kenneth H. PollockAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, North Carolina State University
  • , Peter M. WaserAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Purdue University

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The relative contribution of in situ reproduction versus immigration to the recruitment process is important to ecologists. Here we consider a robust design superpopulation capture-recapture model for a population with two age classes augmented with population assignment data. We first use age information to estimate the entry probabilities of new animals originating via in situ reproduction and immigration separately for all except the first period. Then we combine age and population assignment information with the capture-recapture model, which enables us to estimate the entry probability of in situ births and the entry probability of immigrants separately for all sampling periods. Further, this augmentation of age specific capture-recapture data with population assignment data greatly improves the estimators’ precision. We apply our new model to a capture-recapture data set with genetic information for banner-tailed kangaroo rats in Southern Arizona. We find that many more individuals are born in situ than are immigrants for all time periods. Young animals have lower survival probabilities than adults born in situ. Adult animals born in situ have higher survival probabilities than adults that were immigrants.


Capture-recapture Genetic assignment procedures Kangaroo rat Robust design Single site Superpopulation Two age groups