A Generalized Estimating Equations Approach to Model Heterogeneity and Time Dependence in Capture-Recapture Studies

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Individual heterogeneity in capture probabilities and time dependence are fundamentally important for estimating the closed animal population parameters in capture-recapture studies. A generalized estimating equations (GEE) approach accounts for linear correlation among capture-recapture occasions, and individual heterogeneity in capture probabilities in a closed population capture-recapture individual heterogeneity and time variation model. The estimated capture probabilities are used to estimate animal population parameters. Two real data sets are used for illustrative purposes. A simulation study is carried out to assess the performance of the GEE estimator. A Quasi-Likelihood Information Criterion (QIC) is applied for the selection of the best fitting model. This approach performs well when the estimated population parameters depend on the individual heterogeneity and the nature of linear correlation among capture-recapture occasions.

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