Modeling Association among Demographic Parameters in Analysis of Open Population Capture–Recapture Data



Summary We present a hierarchical extension of the Cormack–Jolly–Seber (CJS) model for open population capture–recapture data. In addition to recaptures of marked animals, we model first captures of animals and losses on capture. The parameter set includes capture probabilities, survival rates, and birth rates. The survival rates and birth rates are treated as a random sample from a bivariate distribution, thus the model explicitly incorporates correlation in these demographic rates. A key feature of the model is that the likelihood function, which includes a CJS model factor, is expressed entirely in terms of identifiable parameters; losses on capture can be factored out of the model. Since the computational complexity of classical likelihood methods is prohibitive, we use Markov chain Monte Carlo in a Bayesian analysis. We describe an efficient candidate-generation scheme for Metropolis–Hastings sampling of CJS models and extensions. The procedure is illustrated using mark-recapture data for the moth Gonodontis bidentata.