E Corresponding author. Email: paul. Camera trapping is a relatively new addition to the wildlife survey repertoire in Australia. Its rapid adoption has been unparalleled in ecological science, but objective evaluation of camera traps and their application has not kept pace. With the aim of motivating practitioners to think more about selection and deployment of camera trap models in relation to research goals, we reviewed Australian camera trapping studies to determine how camera traps have been used and how their technological constraints may have affected reported results and conclusions.
Australian camera trapping studies, like those elsewhere, have changed from more qualitative to more complex quantitative investigations.
Camera Traps in Animal Ecology: Methods and Analyses / Edition 1
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Occupancy models require that the true occupancy status of a site—whether a site is occupied or not—does not change over the course of our study. What survey duration is appropriate to approximate closure depends on the species and system under study; for example, where species occurrence tracks the availability of seasonal resources, an occupancy survey should be constrained to a single season.
Other than closure, occupancy models assume independence of observations, both across sites and occasions.
Assigning occasions is somewhat arbitrary but should be guided by a few general principles: a Avoid having too many occasions with 0 observations usually very short occasions. Many 0s in the detection matrix will lead to very low estimates of detection probability, which can lead to numerical issues when fitting models. The probability of detecting a species increases with increasing occasion length. If occasion lengths or effort within an occasion differ, you may need to account for that in your model, by including occasion length or effort as a covariate on detection.
A gentle introduction to camera‐trap data analysis
As this individual moves about its home range, it may temporarily not be in the vicinity of the camera trap, thus becoming unavailable to be detected. This phenomenon is called temporary emigration Nichols et al. Choosing occasions that are long enough for the individual to have a good chance to be available for detection at some point during the occasion can alleviate some of the problems introduced by animal movement.
Appropriate occasion length depends on your data set and focal species. MacKenzie and Royle provide general guidelines for allocating effort between sampling more sites or over more occasions. This approach implies the strong assumption that a single point in space provides conclusive information about an area on the scale of multiple square kilometres. The true area sampled by a camera trap is difficult to determine.