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Who captures the marks for the Petersen estimator?

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We examine the claim that the well-known Petersen estimator which is used in population size estimation was not in fact used by the scientist after whom it is named. We show how, in the early years of the last century, the modern use of the Petersen estimator grew from that of the fishing coefficient. Contending with the somewhat conflicting claims that were made at the time, and what by modern standards is poor referencing of sources, we investigate where the credit lies for these concepts, and the principles and protocols which support them. We assess also how far attributions of credit were affected by practical considerations, and the history of the estimator by the nature of the problems being pursued. We identify scientists whose early work on marking and estimating fish populations deserves more credit than it has received.
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Keywords: Fishing coefficient; Lincoln index; MarkÔÇôrecapture; Population size; Stock assessment; Tagging

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of St Andrews, UK

Publication date: 01 July 2007

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