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Title: A broader definition of occupancy: Comment on Hayes and Monfils

Author: Latif, Quresh S.; Ellis, Martha M.; Amundson, Courtney L.;

Date: 2016

Source: Journal of Wildlife Management. 80(2): 192-194.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)


Occupancy models are widely used to analyze presence-absence data for a variety of taxa while accounting for observation error (MacKenzie et al. 2002, 2006; Tyre et al. 2003; Royle and Dorazio 2008). Hayes and Monfils (2015) question their use for analyzing avian point count data based on purported violations of model assumptions incurred by avian mobility. Animal mobility is an important consideration, not just for occupancy models, but for a variety of population and habitat models (Boyce 2006, Royle et al. 2009, Manning and Goldberg 2010, Dormann et al. 2013, Renner et al. 2015). Nevertheless, we believe the ultimate conclusions of Hayes and Monfils are shortsighted mainly due to a narrow interpretation of occupancy. Rather than turn away from the use of occupancy models, we believe they remain an appropriate method for analyzing many data sets collected from avian point count surveys. Further, we suggest that there is value in having a broader and more nuanced interpretation of occupancy that incorporates the potential for animal movement.

Keywords: occupancy models, mobility, habitat

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Latif, Quresh S.; Ellis, Martha M.; Amundson, Courtney L. 2016. A broader definition of occupancy: Comment on Hayes and Monfils. Journal of Wildlife Management. 80(2): 192-194.


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