Dataset with many non-detections and few detections

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Hannah Madden

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Jun 3, 2021, 8:08:58 AMJun 3
to distance-sampling

Good morning,

Question re: R package 'Distance'.

I have been surveying a species that appears to be in severe decline and only have 34 detections out of >300 transects. Given the limitations of this dataset, I want to ensure that Distance in R is suitable for such a small sample size. 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated,

Hannah Madden

Eric Rexstad

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Jun 3, 2021, 8:52:28 AMJun 3
to Hannah Madden, distance-sampling

Hannah

This question arises frequently; how many detections are enough.  There is not a simple answer to this.  If the data are "nice", the detection process might be reasonably represented by a smaller number of detections.  However, if the data are not well behaved, e.g. half of the detections are at perpendicular distances <5m, then even a large number of detections may not lead to reasonable results.

Look at the histogram of the perpendicular detections and ask yourself whether they accurately depict the detection process; this is easiest to do if you were the collector of the data (or can speak with the data collectors).

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Eric Rexstad
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Hannah Madden

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Jun 3, 2021, 9:39:56 AMJun 3
to distance-sampling
Hi Eric, thanks for your reply. About 20% of the detections are <5m. I am aware that with the desktop version of Distance with very small samples sizes you could use availability as a multiplier in the density estimator but am not sure if that's is still necessary with the R package (and if so, how). 

Hannah


Eric Rexstad

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Jun 3, 2021, 10:43:05 AMJun 3
to Hannah Madden, distance-sampling

Hannah

Not quite certain what you mean about availability in association with small sample sizes.  However, it is possible to use multipliers in the R package when, for example, converting density of cues into density of individuals.  See an example of this here:

https://examples.distancesampling.org/Distance-cues/cuecounts-distill.html

Multipliers are described in the section "Introducing a new function `dht2`"

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