A spatially explicit approach for estimating space use and density of common genets

Pedro Sarmento*, Joana Cruz, Catarina Eira, Carlos Fonseca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many species that occur at low densities are not accurately estimated using capture-recapture methods as such techniques assume that populations are well-defined in space. To solve this bias, spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) models have recently been developed. These models incorporate movement and can identify areas where it is more likely for individuals to concentrate their activity. In this study, we used data from camera-trap surveys of common genets (Genetta genetta) in Serra da Malcata (Portugal), designed to compare abundance estimates produced by SECR models with traditional closed-capture models. Using the SECR models, we observed spatial heterogeneity in genet distribution and density estimates were approximately two times lower than those obtained from the closed population models. The non-spatial model estimates were constrained to sampling grid size and likely underestimated movements, thereby overestimating density. Future research should consider the incorporation of cost-weighed models that can include explicit hypothesis on how environmental variables influence the distance metric.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Biodiversity and Conservation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Camera-trapping
  • Capture-recapture
  • Genet
  • Program MARK
  • SECR package
  • Spatial models

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