Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Estimating Key Largo woodrat abundance using spatially explicit capture–recapture and trapping point transects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Open Access permissions



The Key Largo woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli) is an endangered rodent with a restricted geographic range and small population size. Establishing an efficient monitoring program of its abundance has been problematic; previous trapping designs have not worked well because the species is sparsely distributed. We compared Key Largo woodrat abundance estimates in Key Largo, Florida, USA, obtained using trapping point transects (TPT) and spatially explicit capture–recapture (SECR) based on statistical properties, survey effort, practicality, and cost. Both methods combine aspects of distance sampling with capture–recapture, but TPT relies on radiotracking individuals to estimate detectability and SECR relies on repeat capture information to estimate densities of home ranges. Abundance estimates using TPT in the spring of 2007 and 2008 were 333 woodrats (CV = 0.46) and 696 (CV = 0.43), respectively. Abundance estimates using SECR in the spring, summer, and winter of 2007 were 97 (CV = 0.31), 334 (CV = 0.26), and 433 (CV = 0.20) animals, respectively. Trapping point transects used approximately 960 person-hours and 1,010 trap-nights/season. Spatially explicit capture–recapture used approximately 500 person-hours and 6,468 trap-nights/season. Significant time was saved in the SECR survey by setting large numbers of traps close together, minimizing time walking between traps. Trapping point transects were practical to implement in the field, and valuable auxiliary information on Key Largo woodrat behavior was obtained via radiocollaring. In this particular study, detectability of the woodrat using TPT was very low and consequently the SECR method was more efficient. Both methods require a substantial investment in survey effort to detect any change in abundance because of large uncertainty in estimates.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-338
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number2
Early online date17 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

    Research areas

  • Abundance, Distance sampling, Key Largo woodrat, Neotoma floridana smalli, Small mammals, Spatially explicit capture–recapture, Trapping point transects

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Model-based approaches to deal with detectability: a comment on Hutto (2016a)

    Marques, T. A., Thomas, L., Kery, M., Buckland, S. T., Borchers, D. L., Rexstad, E., Fewster, R. M., Mackenzie, D. I., Royle, J. A., Guillera-Arroita, G., Handel, C. M., Pavlacky, D. C. & Camp, R. J., Jul 2017, In : Ecological Applications. 27, 5, p. 1694-1698 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

  2. Distance sampling surveys of population size: Enabling better decision-making by wildlife managers

    Buckland, S. T., Rexstad, E., Thomas, L. & Borchers, D. L., 1 Jan 2016, UK Success Stories in Industrial Mathematics. Springer, p. 45-51 7 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  3. The effect of animal movement on line transect estimates of abundance

    Glennie, R., Buckland, S. T. & Thomas, L., 23 Mar 2015, In : PLoS One. 10, 3, e0121333.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Statistical ecology comes of age

    Gimenez, O., Buckland, S. T., Morgan, B. J. T., Bez, N., Bertrand, S., Choquet, R., Dray, S., Etienne, M-P., Fewster, R., Gosselin, F., Merigot, B., Monestiez, P., Morales, J. M., Mortier, F., Munoz, F., Ovaskainen, O., Pavoine, S., Pradel, R., Schurr, F. M., Thomas, L. & 4 othersThuiller, W., Trenkel, V., de Valpine, P. & Rexstad, E., 24 Dec 2014, In : Biology Letters. 10, 4 p., 20140698.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Distance Sampling

    Marques, T. A., Buckland, S. T., Borchers, D. L., Rexstad, E. & Thomas, L., 1 Dec 2014, International Encyclopedia of Statistical Science. Lovric, M. (ed.). Springer, p. 398 400 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Related by journal

  1. The use of Global Positioning Systems to record distances in a helicopter line-transect survey

    Marques, T. A., Andersen, M., Christensen-Dalsgaard, S., Belikov, S., Boltunov, A., Wiig, O., Buckland, S. T. & Aars, J., Oct 2006, In : Wildlife Society Bulletin. 34, p. 759-763 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Evaluation of wolf density estimation from radiotelemetry data

    Burch, J. W., Adams, L. G., Follmann, E. H. & Rexstad, E., 2005, In : Wildlife Society Bulletin. 33, p. 1225-1236 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 242039257