[MARMAM] New publication on trend detection

Gilles, Anita Anita.Gilles at tiho-hannover.de
Sun Aug 23 11:06:21 PDT 2020

Dear all,

on behalf of Matthieu Authier and co-authors, I am pleased to announce the publication of our recent article on estimating and detecting trends in cetacean abundance.

Happy reading!

Authier M, Galatius A, Gilles A, Spitz J. 2020. Of power and despair in cetacean conservation: estimation and detection of trend in abundance with noisy and short time-series. PeerJ 8:e9436 DOI 10.7717/peerj.9436

open access


Many conservation instruments rely on detecting and estimating a population decline in a target species to take action. Trend estimation is difficult because of small sample size and relatively large uncertainty in abundance/density estimates of many wild populations of animals. Focusing on cetaceans, we performed a prospective analysis to estimate power, type-I, sign (type-S) and magnitude (type-M) error rates of detecting a decline in short time-series of abundance estimates with different signal-to-noise ratio. We contrasted results from both unregularized (classical) and regularized approaches. The latter allows to incorporate prior information when estimating a trend. Power to detect a statistically significant estimates was in general lower than 80%, except for large declines. The unregularized approach (status quo) had inflated type-I error rates and gave biased (either over- or under-) estimates of a trend. The regularized approach with a weakly-informative prior offered the best trade-off in terms of bias, statistical power, type-I, type-S and type-M error rates and confidence interval coverage. To facilitate timely conservation decisions, we recommend to use the regularized approach with a weakly-informative prior in the detection and estimation of trend with short and noisy time-series of abundance estimates.

Please send any questions to Matthieu: matthieu.authier at univ-lr.fr



    Dr. Anita Gilles
    University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation
    Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research (ITAW)
    Werftstr. 6 | 25761 Büsum
    Phone: +49 (0)511-8568177
    Fax: +49 (0)511-8568181
    anita.gilles at tiho-hannover.de
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