A Hierarchical Model to Estimate Fish Abundance in Alpine Streams by using Removal Sampling Data from Multiple Locations



The author compares 12 hierarchical models in the aim of estimating the abundance of fish in alpine streams by using removal sampling data collected at multiple locations. The most expanded model accounts for (i) variability of the abundance among locations, (ii) variability of the catchability among locations, and (iii) residual variability of the catchability among fish. Eleven model reductions are considered depending which variability is included in the model. The more restrictive model considers none of the aforementioned variabilities. Computations of the latter model can be achieved by using the algorithm presented by Carle and Strub (Biometrics 1978, 34, 621–630). Maximum a posteriori and interval estimates of the parameters as well as the Akaike and the Bayesian information criterions of model fit are computed by using samples simulated by a Markov chain Monte Carlo method. The models are compared by using a trout (Salmo trutta fario) parr (0+) removal sampling data set collected at three locations in the Pyrénées mountain range (Haute-Garonne, France) in July 2006. Results suggest that, in this case study, variability of the catchability is not significant, either among fish or locations. Variability of the abundance among locations is significant. 95% interval estimates of the abundances at the three locations are [0.15, 0.24], [0.26, 0.36], and [0.45, 0.58] parrs per m2. Such differences are likely the consequence of habitat variability.