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Abundance: Population Size and Density Estimation

Ecological Statistics

  1. Mark S. Udevitz1,
  2. William R. Gould2

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vaa002.pub2

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Udevitz, M. S. and Gould, W. R. 2013. Abundance: Population Size and Density Estimation . Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 1.

Author Information

  1. 1

    U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK, USA

  2. 2

    New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


Estimates of population size (total number of individuals) or density (number of individuals per unit area) are some of the most basic requirements for wildlife research and management. This article provides a brief overview of approaches for wildlife population estimation. These include habitat-based approaches such as quadrat, line intercept, distance, and repeated count methods, as well as animal-based approaches such as capture–recapture and harvest methods. In contrast to methods that only index changes in these parameters, estimates of size or density must account for the probability that an individual will be included in the sample used for estimation. The essential differences in the approaches are in how the samples are obtained and how the sampling probabilities are estimated.


  • capture–recapture;
  • catch-effort;
  • change-in-ratio;
  • detection;
  • distance sampling;
  • hierarchical models;
  • index-removal;
  • probability sampling;
  • quadrats;
  • repeated counts