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A fast re-sampling method for using reliability ratings of sightings with extinction-date estimators


Brook, BW and Buettel, JC and Jaric, I, A fast re-sampling method for using reliability ratings of sightings with extinction-date estimators, Ecology, 100, (9) Article e02787. ISSN 0012-9658 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 by the Ecological Society of America

DOI: doi:10.1002/ecy.2787


The pattern of sightings of a species that is rare, and then no longer observed, can be used to estimate its extinction date. However, other than physical captures or specimens, the veracity of any sighting is ambiguous, and should be treated probabilistically when used to infer extinction dates. We present a simple yet powerful computational approach for incorporating observational reliability into extinction date estimators (EDE). Our method (1) combines repeated within-year sightings probabilistically, (2) samples observations using reliability as an inclusion probability, (3) infers a probability distribution and summary statistics of extinction dates with any EDE, and (4) computes the frequency distribution of the extinction date. We applied this method to eight exemplar sighting records covering a range of lengths, sighting rates and uncertainties, using a variety of statistical EDEs, and compared these results with a threshold approach for selecting sightings. We also demonstrated a robust coverage of “true” extinction dates based on selected real-world examples of rediscovered species and confirmed extinctions, and simulated sighting records. Our approach represents a powerful generalization of past work because it is not predicated on any specific method for inferring extinction dates, and yet is simple to implement (with R script provided).

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:computational ecology, extinction model, extinction time, sighting record, species persistence, uncertainty
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Speciation and extinction
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
UTAS Author:Buettel, JC (Dr Jessie Buettel)
ID Code:142869
Year Published:2019
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FL160100101)
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2021-02-12
Last Modified:2021-03-16
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