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Accounting for imperfect detection in ecology: a quantitative review.

Kellner KF, Swihart RK - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Among articles that reported detection probability, 70% contained per-survey estimates of detection that were less than 0.5.For articles in which constancy of detection was tested, 86% reported significant variation.We hope that our findings prompt more ecologists to consider carefully the detection process when designing studies and analyzing results, especially for sub-disciplines where incorporation of imperfect detection in study design and analysis so far has been lacking.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Detection in studies of species abundance and distribution is often imperfect. Assuming perfect detection introduces bias into estimation that can weaken inference upon which understanding and policy are based. Despite availability of numerous methods designed to address this assumption, many refereed papers in ecology fail to account for non-detection error. We conducted a quantitative literature review of 537 ecological articles to measure the degree to which studies of different taxa, at various scales, and over time have accounted for imperfect detection. Overall, just 23% of articles accounted for imperfect detection. The probability that an article incorporated imperfect detection increased with time and varied among taxa studied; studies of vertebrates were more likely to incorporate imperfect detection. Among articles that reported detection probability, 70% contained per-survey estimates of detection that were less than 0.5. For articles in which constancy of detection was tested, 86% reported significant variation. We hope that our findings prompt more ecologists to consider carefully the detection process when designing studies and analyzing results, especially for sub-disciplines where incorporation of imperfect detection in study design and analysis so far has been lacking.

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PRISMA flow diagram detailing how articles were selected for inclusion in the quantitative literature review.
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pone-0111436-g001: PRISMA flow diagram detailing how articles were selected for inclusion in the quantitative literature review.

Mentions: A census of the literature was impractical, so we adopted a stratified sampling approach (Figure 1). We selected a subset of 10 journals to include in the study, chosen for their impact factors, long publication history, and coverage of a range of taxonomic groups (birds, fish, mammals, herpetofauna, invertebrates, and plants; Table 1). For each of the journals, we selected 5 years from which to sample papers: 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, and 2011.


Accounting for imperfect detection in ecology: a quantitative review.

Kellner KF, Swihart RK - PLoS ONE (2014)

PRISMA flow diagram detailing how articles were selected for inclusion in the quantitative literature review.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4214722&req=5

pone-0111436-g001: PRISMA flow diagram detailing how articles were selected for inclusion in the quantitative literature review.
Mentions: A census of the literature was impractical, so we adopted a stratified sampling approach (Figure 1). We selected a subset of 10 journals to include in the study, chosen for their impact factors, long publication history, and coverage of a range of taxonomic groups (birds, fish, mammals, herpetofauna, invertebrates, and plants; Table 1). For each of the journals, we selected 5 years from which to sample papers: 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, and 2011.

Bottom Line: Among articles that reported detection probability, 70% contained per-survey estimates of detection that were less than 0.5.For articles in which constancy of detection was tested, 86% reported significant variation.We hope that our findings prompt more ecologists to consider carefully the detection process when designing studies and analyzing results, especially for sub-disciplines where incorporation of imperfect detection in study design and analysis so far has been lacking.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Detection in studies of species abundance and distribution is often imperfect. Assuming perfect detection introduces bias into estimation that can weaken inference upon which understanding and policy are based. Despite availability of numerous methods designed to address this assumption, many refereed papers in ecology fail to account for non-detection error. We conducted a quantitative literature review of 537 ecological articles to measure the degree to which studies of different taxa, at various scales, and over time have accounted for imperfect detection. Overall, just 23% of articles accounted for imperfect detection. The probability that an article incorporated imperfect detection increased with time and varied among taxa studied; studies of vertebrates were more likely to incorporate imperfect detection. Among articles that reported detection probability, 70% contained per-survey estimates of detection that were less than 0.5. For articles in which constancy of detection was tested, 86% reported significant variation. We hope that our findings prompt more ecologists to consider carefully the detection process when designing studies and analyzing results, especially for sub-disciplines where incorporation of imperfect detection in study design and analysis so far has been lacking.

Show MeSH