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Binary probability maps using a hidden conditional autoregressive Gaussian process with an application to Finnish common toad data

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The Finnish common toad data of Heikkinen and Hogmander are reanalysed using an alternative fully Bayesian model that does not require a pseudolikelihood approximation and an alternative prior distribution for the true presence or absence status of toads in each 10 km×10 km square. Markov chain Monte Carlo methods are used to obtain posterior probability estimates of the square-specific presences of the common toad and these are presented as a map. The results are different from those of Heikkinen and Hogmander and we offer an explanation in terms of the prior used for square-specific presence of the toads. We suggest that our approach is more faithful to the data and avoids unnecessary confounding of effects. We demonstrate how to extend our model efficiently with square-specific covariates and illustrate this by introducing deterministic spatial changes.

Keywords: Bayesian analysis; Biogeography; Markov chain Monte Carlo methods; Spatial correlation

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, 2: Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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