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Novel inference models for estimation of abundance, survivorship and recruitment in mosquito populations using mark-release-recapture data.

Abstract

These models are important both to reduce uncertainty in evaluating MMR experiments and also to help planning future MRR studies.

Experiments involving mosquito mark-release-recapture (MRR) design are helpful to determine abundance, survival and even recruitment of mosquito populations in the field. Obstacles in mosquito MRR protocols include marking limitations due to small individual size, short lifespan, low efficiency in capturing devices such as traps, and individual removal upon capture. These limitations usually make MRR analysis restricted to only abundance estimation or a combination of abundance and survivorship, and often generate a great degree of uncertainty about the estimations.

We present a set of Bayesian biodemographic models designed to fit data from most common mosquito recapture experiments. Using both field data and simulations, we consider model features such as capture efficiency, survival rates, removal of individuals due to capturing, and collection of pupae. These models permit estimation of abundance, survivorship of both marked and unmarked mosquitoes, if different, and recruitment rate. We analyze the accuracy of estimates by varying the number of released individuals, abundance, survivorship, and capture efficiency in multiple simulations. These methods can stand capture efficiencies as low as usually reported but their accuracy depends on the number of released mosquitoes, abundance and survivorship. We also show that gathering pupal counts allows estimating differences in survivorship between released mosquitoes and the unmarked population.

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