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Keywords:

  • mark–recapture;
  • non-invasive genetic sampling;
  • population size;
  • wildlife management

Abstract

Non-invasive genetic sampling is an increasingly popular approach for investigating the demographics of natural populations. This has also become a useful tool for managers and conservation biologists, especially for those species for which traditional mark–recapture studies are not practical. However, the consequence of collecting DNA indirectly is that an individual may be sampled multiple times per sampling session. This requires alternative statistical approaches to those used in traditional mark–recapture studies. Here we present the R package capwire, an implementation of the population size estimators of Miller et al. (Molecular Ecology 2005; 14: 1991), which were designed to deal specifically with this type of sampling. The aim of this project is to enable users across platforms to easily manipulate their data and interact with existing R packages. We have also provided functions to simulate data under a variety of scenarios to allow for rigorous testing of the robustness of the method and to facilitate further development of this approach.