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2023 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

# 8. Line Transect and Distance Methods

Authors : George A. F. Seber, Matthew R. Schofield

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## Abstract

This is the second of two chapters that have a very similar basic mathematical theory. They both involve measuring distances to observed individuals or objects including animal signs. These distances can be from a point chosen by some scheme, as in the previous chapter, or from a point on a line in this chapter, where the perpendicular distance y from the object to the line is measured. There is incomplete detectability, so that some objects may not be observed (negative error) or misidentified for a given species (positive error). The main focus is on estimating population density.
The line or replicate lines are generally referred to as line transects, and distances are measured out to some distance W or any distance ($$W=\infty$$). The radial distance r to the object as well as the angle this distance makes with the transect is sometimes also measured, and theory is given for this situation. Since random placement can lead to uneven coverage of the study area, there is more focus on a model-based approach where various probabilities of detection functions are used with particular shape properties. The theory is extended to clusters of objects such as with schools of fish.
Estimation of the encounter rate, as well as systematic sampling, pooling robustness, the use of multiple observers, and covariates are discussed. Several practical issues are considered such as the choice of transect(s), the total transect length, the type of transect such as a road or track, or zigzag lines, and the number of transects and observation points on a transect. Theory is also given for transects of random length, which can occur with irregular-shaped study areas.
Plants, acoustic methods, the use of presence/absence data, with both independent and dependent detections, and log linear models are given special mention. Model-based methods are extended to shipboard acoustic surveys and other marine surveys. Aerial censusing is considered. Spatial models are described as well as adaptive and Bayesian methods.

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