A unified capture-recapture framework

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Abstract

This article develops a hierarchical framework for capture-recapture data that separates the capture process from the demographic processes of interest, such as birth and survival. This allows users to parameterize in terms of meaningful demographic parameters. The framework is very flexible with many of the current capture-recapture models included as special cases. The hierarchical nature of the model allows natural expression of relationships, both between parameters and between parameters and the realization of random variables, such as population size. Previously, many of these relationships, such as density dependence have been unable to be explored using capture-recapture data. Density dependence, where survival and birth rates depend on the population size, is an interesting special case. We fit a density-dependent model to male Gonodontis bidentata data and report evidence of negative density dependence in percapita birth rates and weak evidence of negative density dependence in survival.