Closed Form Likelihoods for Arnason-Schwarz Models

Ruth King and Stephen P. Brooks

University of Cambridge


The study and analysis of wildlife population data is often important to ecologists and biologists in understanding the dynamics of the population under study. Data are often collected from capture-recapture studies, allowing us to estimate survival, recapture and recovery rates. However, fairly recent advances in statistical methodology also allows us to study movement within the study area when the locations of the animals are recorded upon recapture. In this paper we provide a general framework for the computationally efficient analysis (both Bayesian and classical) of integrated multi-site recovery/recapture models in the presence of individual-level covariates by extending the basic Arnason-Schwarz models and deriving closed-form likelihood expressions, together with corresponding sufficient statistics.


Bayesian statistics; Capture-recapture; Markov chain Monte Carlo; Maximum likelihood estimation; Migration model; Sufficient statistics.

Appeared as King, R. and Brooks, S.P. (2003) "Closed Form Likelihoods for Arnason-Schwarz Models". Biometrika 90 pp 435-444.