The Stakes of Capture–Recapture Models with State Uncertainty

Part of the Environmental and Ecological Statistics book series (ENES, volume 3)


The development of the use of CR multistate models is a major feature of the last 5 years. However, concerns have rightfully appeared about uncertainty in state assignment. I examine situations where uncertainties seem to be intrinsic such as with breeding status. But I also argue that uncertainty is not just a liability, it can be an opportunity – for instance, to exploit more fully the data at hand and limit disturbance. Then I examine the methodological answers that have been proposed. They mainly concern the models conditional on first release and are of a more or less general applicability. I advocate a general approach that can be adapted to each particular case and be used to expand extant specialized approaches. I will also consider how uncertainty could be incorporated into non-conditional models such as models of stopover duration. I conclude that, with the advent of genetic sampling, the new challenges for CR models will be uncertainty in individual identity and dependence among individuals.


Heterogeneity of capture Hidden Markov model Label switching Mixture models Multievent Sex uncertainty Stopover duration 


  1. Arnason AN (1973) The estimation of population size, migration rates and survival in a stratified population. Researches on Population Ecology 15:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Choquet R, Rouan L, Pradel R (this issue) Program E-SURGE: a software application for fitting Multievent models.Google Scholar
  3. Crosbie SF, Manly BFJ (1985) Parsimonious modelling of capture-mark-recapture studies. Biometrics 41:385–398CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  4. Fujiwara M, Caswell H (2002) Estimating population projection matrices from multi-stage mark-recapture data. Ecology 83:3257–3265Google Scholar
  5. Gimenez O, Morgan, BJT, Brooks SP (this issue) Weak identifiability in models for mark-recapture-recovery data.Google Scholar
  6. Gimenez O, Rossi V, Choquet R, Dehais C, Doris B, Varella H, Vila J-P, Pradel R (2007) State-space modelling of data on marked individuals. Ecological Modelling 206:431–438Google Scholar
  7. Hunter CM, Caswell H, Forcada J, Croxall J (this issue) Survival and breeding of South Georgia albatrosses: accounting for unobservable statesGoogle Scholar
  8. Kendall WL, Langtimm CA, Beck CA, Runge MC (2004) Capture–recapture analysis for estimating manatee reproductive rates. Marine Mammal Science 20:424–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lukacs PM, Burnham KP (2005) Review of capture-recapture methods applicable to noninvasive genetic sampling. Molecular Ecology 14:3909–3919CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Nichols JD, Kendall WL, Hines JE, Spendelow JA (2004) Estimation of sex-specific survival from capture-recapture data when sex is not always known. Ecology 85:3192–3201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Oro D, Cam E, Pradel R, Martínez-Abraín A (2004) Influence of food availability on demography and local population dynamics in a long-lived seabird. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences 271:387–396Google Scholar
  12. Pledger S, Pollock KH, Norris JL (2003) Open capture–recapture models with heterogeneity: I. Cormack–Jolly–Seber model. Biometrics 59:786–794CrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  13. Pradel R (2005) Multievent: an extension of multistate capture--recapture models to uncertain states. Biometrics 61:442–447CrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  14. Pradel R, Maurin-Bernier L, Gimenez O, Genovart M, Choquet R, Oro D (2008) Estimation of sex-specific survival with uncertainty in sex assessment. Canadian Journal of Statistics 36(1): 29–42Google Scholar
  15. Pradel R, Schaub M, Jenni L, Lebreton J-D (2005) Migrating birds stop over longer than usually thought: reply. Ecology 86:3418–3419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Prévot-Julliard A-C, Lebreton J-D, Pradel R (1998a) Re-evaluation of adult survival of Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) in presence of recapture heterogeneity. The Auk 115:85–95Google Scholar
  17. Prévot-Julliard A-C, Pradel R, Lebreton J-D, Cézilly F (1998b) Evidence for birth-site tenacity in breeding Black-headed Gulls, Larus ridibundus. Canadian Journal of Zoology 76:2295–2298Google Scholar
  18. Redner RA, Walker HF (1984) Mixture densities, maximum-likelihood and the EM algorithm. SIAM Review 26:195–237CrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  19. Schaub M, Pradel R, Jenni L, Lebreton J-D (2001) Migrating birds stop over longer than usually thought: an improved capture-recapture analysis. Ecology 82:852–859Google Scholar
  20. Schwarz CJ, Stobo WT (1999) Estimation and effects of tag-misread rates in capture–recapture studies. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 56:551–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEFE34293 Montpellier cedex 5France

Personalised recommendations