Model Selection for Integrated Recovery/Recapture Data

Ruth King and Stephen P. Brooks

University of Cambridge


Catchpole, Freeman, Morgan and Harris (1998) provide a novel scheme for integrating both recovery and recapture data analyses and derive sufficient statistics which facilitate likelihood computations. In this paper, we demonstrate how their efficient likelihood expression can facilitate Bayesian analyses of these kinds of data and extend their methodology to provide a formal framework for model determination. We consider in detail the issue of model selection with respect to a set of recapture/recovery histories of shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and determine, from the enormous range of biologically plausible models available, which best describe the data. By using reversible jump MCMC methodology we demonstrate how this enormous model space can be efficiently and effectively explored, without having to resort to performing an infeasibly large number of pairwise comparisons or some ad-hoc stepwise procedure. We find that the model used by Catchpole et al. (1998) has essentially zero posterior probability and that of the 477,144 possible models considered, over 60% of the posterior mass is placed upon three neighbouring models with biologically interesting interpretations.


Age dependence; Markov chain Monte Carlo; Model averaging; Year dependence; Shags.

Appeared as King, R. and Brooks, S.P. (2002) "Model Selection for Integrated Recovery/Recapture Data". Biometrics 58 pp 841-851