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Adaptive two-stage inverse sampling design to estimate density, abundance, and occupancy of rare and clustered populations

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journal contribution
submitted on 2023-06-11, 05:11 and posted on 2023-06-13, 12:35 authored by Mohammad Salehi, David R. Smith

Sampling rare and clustered populations is challenging because of the effort required to find rare units. Heuristically, a practitioner would prefer to discontinue sampling in areas where rare units of interest are apparently extremely sparse or absent. We take advantage of the characteristics of inverse sampling to adaptively inform practitioners when it is efficient to move on to sample new areas. We introduce Adaptive Two-stage Inverse Sampling (ATIS), which is designed to leave a selected area after observation of an a priori number of only non-rare units and to continue sampling in the area when rare units are observed. ATIS is efficient in many cases and yields more rare units than conventional sampling for a rare and clustered population. We derive unbiased estimators of population total and variance. We also introduce an easy-to-compute estimator, which is nearly as efficient as the unbiased estimator. A simulation study on a rare plant population of buttercups (Ranunculus) shows that ATIS even with the easy-to-compute estimator is more efficient than its conventional sampling counterparts and is more efficient than Two-stage Adaptive Cluster Sampling (TACS) for small and moderate final sample sizes. Additional simulations reveal that ATIS is efficient for binary data (e.g., presence or absence) whereas TACS is inefficient for binary data. The overall results indicate that ATIS is consistently efficient compared to conventional sampling and to adaptive cluster sampling in some important cases. 

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Published in: PLoS ONE  
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library



  • English


Public Library of Science (PLoS)

Publication Year

  • 2021

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University