Demographic window to aging in the wild: Constructing life tables and estimating survival functions from marked individuals of unknown age
AuthorMüller, H. G.; Wang, J. L.; Carey, J. R.; Caswell-Chen, E. P.; Chen, C.; Papadopoulos, N.; Yao, F.
We address the problem of establishing a survival schedule for wild populations. A demographic key identity is established, leading to a method whereby age-specific survival and mortality can be deduced from a marked cohort life table established for individuals that are randomly sampled at unknown age and marked, with subsequent recording of time-to-death. This identity permits the construction of life tables from data where the birth date of subjects is unknown. An analogous key identity is established for the continuous case in which the survival schedule of the wild population is related to the density of the survival distribution in the marked cohort. These identities are explored for both life tables and continuous lifetime data. For the continuous case, they are implemented with statistical methods using non-parametric density estimation methods to obtain flexible estimates for the unknown survival distribution of the wild population. The analytical model provided here serves as a starting point to develop more complex models for residual demography, i.e. models for estimating survival of wild populations in which age-at-entry is unknown and using remaining information in randomly encountered individuals. This is a first step towards a broad new concept of 'expressed demographic information content of marked or captured individuals'. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd/Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 2004.
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