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1 July 2009 Evaluating Abundance Estimate Precision and the Assumptions of a Count-Based Index for Small Mammals
Andrew S. Wiewel, Amy A. Yackel Adams, Gordon H. Rodda
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Conservation and management of small mammals requires reliable knowledge of population size. We investigated precision of mark–recapture and removal abundance estimates generated from live-trapping and snap-trapping data collected at sites on Guam (n = 7), Rota (n = 4), Saipan (n = 5), and Tinian (n = 3), in the Mariana Islands. We also evaluated a common index, captures per unit effort (CPUE), as a predictor of abundance. In addition, we evaluated cost and time associated with implementing live-trapping and snap-trapping and compared species-specific capture rates of selected live- and snap-traps. For all species, mark–recapture estimates were consistently more precise than removal estimates based on coefficients of variation and 95% confidence intervals. The predictive utility of CPUE was poor but improved with increasing sampling duration. Nonetheless, modeling of sampling data revealed that underlying assumptions critical to application of an index of abundance, such as constant capture probability across space, time, and individuals, were not met. Although snap-trapping was cheaper and faster than live-trapping, the time difference was negligible when site preparation time was considered. Rattus diardii spp. captures were greatest in Haguruma live-traps (Standard Trading Co., Honolulu, HI) and Victor snap-traps (Woodstream Corporation, Lititz, PA), whereas Suncus murinus and Mus musculus captures were greatest in Sherman live-traps (H. B. Sherman Traps, Inc., Tallahassee, FL) and Museum Special snap-traps (Woodstream Corporation). Although snap-trapping and CPUE may have utility after validation against more rigorous methods, validation should occur across the full range of study conditions. Resources required for this level of validation would likely be better allocated towards implementing rigorous and robust methods.

Andrew S. Wiewel, Amy A. Yackel Adams, and Gordon H. Rodda "Evaluating Abundance Estimate Precision and the Assumptions of a Count-Based Index for Small Mammals," Journal of Wildlife Management 73(5), 761-771, (1 July 2009).
Published: 1 July 2009

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abundance estimation
capture per unit effort (CPUE)
program MARK
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