Analysis of datasets collected on marked individuals has spurred the development of statistical methodology to account for imperfect detection. This has relevance beyond the dynamics of marked populations. A couple of great examples of this are determining site occupancy or disease infection state.
The regular series of EURING-sponsored meetings (which began in 1986) have been key to this development. They’ve brought together biological practitioners, applied modellers and theoretical statisticians to encourage an exchange of ideas, data and methods.
This new cross-journal Special Feature between Methods in Ecology and Evolution and Ecology and Evolution, edited by Rob Robinson and Beth Gardner, brings together a collection of papers from the most recent EURING meeting. That meeting was held in Barcelona, Spain, 2017, and was hosted by the Museu de Ciènces Naturals de Barcelona. Although birds have provided a convenient focus, the methods are applicable to a wide range of taxa, from plants to large mammals.
Changing Statistical Priorities
The topics of these meetings have changed over time. This has generally reflected the state of statistical model development. Initially, the meetings concentrated on parameter estimation, especially of survival and abundance. More recently methods to integrate different datasets and analysis of data involving transition between states, where these states are unknown, or identified with error, have become more and more common in the talks and posters. The importance of accessible software to allow users to apply the latest methods has always been key though.
Advances in Modelling Demographic Processes
The papers presented in the ‘Advances in Modelling Demographic Processes’ Special Feature cover a wide range of topics. These include:
- the promise and limitations of data integration methods
- ‘how-to’ guides for using n-mixture models in disease ecology
- ‘how to’ guides to using the Delta method for mark-recapture data
- an overview of occupancy models in large-scale citizen science projects
- several applications of methods relevant to the conservation and management of bird and mammal populations
- developments of statistical models and the introduction of an R package designed to facilitate the analysis of animal movement data
There are a lot more topics covered by the 17 articles in this Special Feature. You can find out more about them, and about the aims of the Special Feature, in the Editorial: ‘Advances in modelling demographic processes: The Euring 2017 Analytical Meeting’. The articles published in Ecology and Evolution are all Open Access and those published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution have been made freely available for the whole of 2019.
The methods developed in and around the Euring Analytical meetings continue to have relevance today far beyond the bird-marking community. We hope that this Special Feature will help bring more attention to them.