Line transect sampling in small and large regions.

RM Fewster, JL Laake, Stephen Terrence Buckland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Melville and Welsh (2001, Biometrics 57, 1130-1137) consider an approach to line transect sampling using a separate calibration study to estimate the detection function g. They present a simulation study contrasting their results with poor results from a traditional estimator, labeled the "Buckland" estimator and referenced to Buckland et al. (1993, Distance Sampling: Estimating Abundance of Biological populations). The poor results from the "Buckland" estimator can be explained by the following observations: (i) the estimator is designated for untruncated distance data, but was applied by Melville and Welsh to truncated distance data; (ii) distance data were not pooled across transects, contrary to standard practice; and (iii) bias of the estimator was evaluated with respect to a fixed rather than a randomized grid of transect lines. We elaborate on the points above and show that the traditional methods perform to expectation when applied correctly. We also emphasize that the estimator labeled the "Buckland" estimator by Melville and Welsh is not an estimator recommended by Buckland et al. for practical survey applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-859
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005


  • abundance estimation
  • calibration
  • detection function
  • distance sampling
  • line transect
  • truncation


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