Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Finite population sampling theory is useful in estimating total population size (abundance) from abundance estimates of each sampled unit (quadrat). We develop estimators that allow correlated quadrat abundance estimates, even for quadrats in different sampling strata. Correlated quadrat abundance estimates based on mark–recapture or distance sampling methods occur when data are pooled across quadrats to estimate, for example, capture probability parameters or sighting functions. When only minimal information is available from each quadrat, pooling of data across quadrats may be necessary to efficiently estimate capture probabilities or sighting functions. We further include information from a quadrat-based auxiliary variable to more precisely estimate total population size via a ratio estimator. We also provide variance estimators for the difference between or the ratio of 2 abundance estimates, taken at different times. We present an example based on estimating the number of Mexican spotted owls (Strix occidentalis lucida) in the Upper Gila Mountains Recovery Unit, Arizona and New Mexico, USA. Owl abundance for each quadrat was estimated with a Huggins 4-pass mark–resight population estimator, but with initial capture and resighting probabilities modeled in common across all sample quadrats. Pooling mark–resight data across quadrats was necessary because few owls were marked on individual quadrats to estimate quadrat-specific capture probabilities. Model-based estimates of owl abundance for each quadrat necessitated variance estimation procedures that take into account correlated quadrat estimates. An auxiliary variable relating to topographic roughness of sampled quadrats provided a useful covariate for a ratio estimator.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Bowden, David C.; White, Gary C.; Franklin, Alan B.; Ganey, Joseph L. 2003. Estimating population size with correlated sampling unit estimates. Journal of Wildlife Management. 67(1): 1-10.


    Arizona, closed population estimation, finite population sample theory, Huggins estimator, mark–recapture, mark–resight, Mexican spotted owl, New Mexico, program MARK, ratio estimator, Strix occidentalis lucida

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page