Random versus stratified location of transects or points in distance sampling: theoretical results and practical considerations
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A composite approach mixing design-based and model-based inference is considered for analyzing line-transect or point-transect data. In this setting, the properties of the animal abundance estimator stem from the sampling scheme adopted to locate transects or points on the study region, as well as from the modeled detection probabilities. Moreover, the abundance estimation can be viewed as a “generalized” version of Monte Carlo integration. This approach permits to prove the superiority of the stratified placement of transects or points (based on a regular tessellation of the study region) over the uniform random placement. Even if the result was already established for the fixed-area sampling, i.e., when a perfect detection takes place, it was lacking in distance sampling. Comparisons with other widely-applied schemes pursuing an even placement of transects or points are also considered.
KeywordsComposite approach Coverage probability Detection probability Monte Carlo integration Tessellation stratified sampling Uniform random sampling
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