School Seminars and Colloquia

Modeling Age and Nest-specific Survival Using a Hierarchical Bayesian Approach

Statistics Seminar

by Professor Chong He


Institution: University of Missouri, USA
Date: Tue 15th July 2008
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Room 213, Richard Berry Bldg, The University of Melbourne

Abstract: Recent studies have shown that grassland birds are declining more rapidly
than any other group of terrestrial birds. Current methods of estimating
age-specific bird nest survival rates require knowing the ages of
nests or assuming homogeneous nests in terms of nest survival rates or
treating the hazard function as a piecewise step function. In this
paper, we propose a Bayesian hierarchical model with nest-specific
covariates to estimate age-specific daily survival probabilities
without the above requirements. The model provides a smooth estimate of
the nest survival curve and identifies the factors that influence
the nest survival curve when the nest age is unknown. Biologists will be
able to develop effective conservation and land management strategies
with this information. The model can handle irregular visiting schedules
and it has the least restrictive assumptions compared to existing methods.
The typical features of nest survival data, truncation and censoring, are
accounted for by the likelihood function and the latent variables. An
intrinsic
auto-regressive prior is employed for the nest age effect.

For More Information: Guoqi Qian g.qian@ms.unimelb.edu.au