Journal of Statistical Theory and Practice

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 241–260 | Cite as

A Comparative Study of Bayes Estimators of Closed Population Size from Capture-Recapture Data

  • R. M. GoskyEmail author
  • S. K. Ghosh


Capture-Recapture models estimate the unknown sizes of animal populations. For closed populations, with constant size N during the study, eight standard models exist for estimating N. These models allow for variation in animal capture probabilities due to time effects, heterogeneity among animals, and behavioral effects after the first capture. We present Bayesian versions of these eight models. Through simulation, we compare performance of estimation of N under each model. Each model is fit to data sets generated under each of the eight model assumptions, allowing assessment of model robustness. In our simulation conditions, the most robust model in estimating N is found to be the model with behavioral and time effects. Finally, we illustrate our methods by applying them to a population of cottontail rabbits.

AMS Subject Classification

62F03 62F15 62P10 


Bayesian inference Capture-recapture models Closed population Heterogeneity Gibbs sampling MCMC WinBUGS 


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Copyright information

© Grace Scientific Publishing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematical SciencesAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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