Saturday, February 25
PS3 Poster Session 3 and Continental Breakfast Sat, Feb 25, 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Conference Center AB

Data Fusion Techniques for Estimating the Relative Abundance of Rare Species (303458)

*Purna Gamage, Texas Tech University 

Keywords: Data fusion, relative abundance

Estimating relative abundance of a species is one of the most important problem arising in ecology. Traditionally such estimates are obtained using capture-mark-recapture methodologies. Non-invasive procedures, for example, camera trap surveys have also been used extensively. However, such methodologies are not efficient when the focal species is relatively rare and exhibits cryptic behavior.

Over the past decade, scent detection dogs, extensively trained to identify the scats of focal species, have been used to perform scat surveys to assess occurrence of that species in a particular geographical region. Besides detection of presence, the relative abundance could also be estimated from DNA analyses of the collected scats.

In this study we develop a data fusion technique to combine camera trap and scat surveys to draw inference on the relative abundance of the target species. The major challenge lies in developing a coherent model that can handle the discrete sampling protocol induced by camera traps and the continuous search paths of scat surveys. We extend the spatial capture-recapture model (Chandler & Royle, 2013) to combine these two types of data and illustrate its application on a swift fox study conducted in north-western Texas .