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Point Transect Sampling Along Linear Features

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Distance sampling is a widely used methodology for assessing animal abundance. A key requirement of distance sampling is that samplers (lines or points) are placed according to a randomized design, which ensures that samplers are positioned independently of animals. Often samplers are placed along linear features such as roads, so that bias is expected if animals are not uniformly distributed with respect to distance from the linear feature. We present an approach for analyzing distance data from a survey when the samplers are points placed along a linear feature. Based on results from a simulation study and from a survey of Irish hares in Northern Ireland conducted from roads, we conclude that large bias may result if the position of samplers is not randomized, and analysis methods fail to account for nonuniformity.

Keywords: Distance sampling; Hare survey; Linear features; Nonrandom samplers; Nonuniform density; Point transects; Uniformity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling, The Observatory, University of St Andrews, St Andrews KY16 9LZ, Scotland 2: Quercus, School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University, Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, United Kingdom 3: The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, United Kingdom

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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