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Accounting for unequal trappability between the sexes

In a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, CTBCC's Donald McKnight, along with co-author Day Ligon from Missouri State University, investigates how to account for the fact that male and female animals often have unequal trap rates in live trapping studies.

The researchers use simulation models to test the hypothesis that bias in capture rates could be overcome by treating males and females as separate populations and calculating a population estimate for each of them.

Unequal catchability can potentially bias estimates of population size and sex ratio in studies.

The study found that  treating males and females as separate populations did produce more accurate population and sex ratio estimates. However, treating males and females separately reduced precision, and the researchers warn that this method may not be appropriate when capture and recapture rates are low. 

Read the full paper here.

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