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2023 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

7. Point Counts and Point-Distance Methods

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

Published in: Estimating Presence and Abundance of Closed Populations

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

This chapter considers two closely related topics. The first consists of choosing a point by some random process such as totally at random or as point on a line transect or some linear feature such as a road or track. The number of animals (or clusters) or objects (e.g., animal signs) observed or heard is counted in a circular plot centered on the point with radius W. The second method also includes the distances from the center to each individual. The aim is to estimate population numbers or density using full or conditional likelihood functions.
A number of variations are given such as: (1) increasing W until a certain fixed number of individuals are counted, (2) simply counting all individuals observed so that we effectively have \(W=\infty \), (3) grouping distances into distance categories (referred to as concentric bands or “bins”) or into just two categories, up to distance W, and greater than W. Repeat visits can be made to the original points to provide additional data, and the time between visits is critical.
Mathematical theory for the methods is given, and heterogeneity is considered. Designing such an experiment is discussed such as choosing the number of points, dealing with points close to the boundary of the population area, and possible measurement errors. Using a model-based approach, a variety of probability of detection functions are proposed. The distance sampling can also be combined with a removal method. As some species are insufficiently visible or noisy to allow adequate numbers to be detected by observers standing at random points, the point counts or distances can be combined with capture–recapture using a trapping web. A single trap or lure method can also be used. Standard or “unreconciled” double observer techniques are described, along with aerial methods. With more data, detectability can be split into components involving availability, presence, and observance. Various methods are compared, as well as how to combine some of them.

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Metadata
Title
Point Counts and Point-Distance Methods
Authors
George A. F. Seber
Matthew R. Schofield
Copyright Year
2023
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-39834-6_7

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