Hierarchical Modeling in Ecology
Welcome to the landing page for a cluster of books on this very broad topic at the interface of applied statistics,
population ecology, wildlife management, conservation biology and biodiversity monitoring.
We hope you find these books useful for your work and especially the additional resources that are available here.
Hierarchical statistical models break apart a complex statistical model into a series of linked,
less complex submodels by factorizing the likelihood into a series of conditional probability statements.
Hierarchical models have many advantages, but the biggest two are arguably:
- They often make the fitting of a complex model easier.
- They represent a principled approach to statistical modeling where, instead of doing relatively brain-free
curve-fitting exercises, you think about the processes that likely gave raise to your data set and then represent
them in your model. The result is often a more science-based model. And the act of hierarchical modeling almost
enforces a clearer thinking about a scientific problem than does the application of some out-of-the-box statistical procedure.
Our books apply the principles of hierarchical modeling to a large range of problems and provide countless
worked example analyses using both likelihood and Bayesian inference, and for the latter using the highly popular
Bayesian BUGS modeling software (originally WinBUGS and now JAGS).
Hierarchical modeling in ecology publications:
- Royle & Dorazio, 2008, Hierarchical Modeling and Inference in Ecology
- Kéry, 2010, Introduction to WinBUGS for Ecologists
- Kéry & Schaub, 2012 (BPA), Bayesian Population Analysis using WinBUGS
- Royle et al., 2014 (SCR), Spatial Capture Recapture
- Kéry & Royle, 2016 (AHM1), Applied Hierarchical Modeling in Ecology, Vol 1
Kéry & Royle, 2021 (AHM2), Applied Hierarchical Modeling in Ecology, Vol 2
- Schaub & Kéry, 2021 (IPM), Integrated Population Models
Discussion groups/help forums:
- unmarked - Unmarked package help forum
- HMecology - Hierarchical Modeling in Ecology
- scr - Spatially explicit capure-recapture
- phidot.org - Wildlife ecology software help forum
- JAGS - JAGS: Just Another Gibbs Sampler forum
- Nimble - Latest and very actively developed BUGS-language software
Relevant R packages available on the CRAN repository
- unmarked - Models for Data from Unmarked Animals
- AHMbook - Functions and Data for the Book "Applied Hierarchical Modeling in Ecology" Vols 1 and 2
- jagsUI - A Wrapper Around 'rjags' to Streamline 'JAGS' Analyses
- wiqid - Quick and Dirty Estimates for Wildlife Populations
GitHub repositories with commented code
- AHM_code - up-to-date code for both AHM1 and AHM2
- unmarked - code for the unmarked package
- AHMbook - commented code for the AHMbook package
- jagsUI - R package to Run JAGS (Just Another Gibbs Sampler) analyses from within R
Currently under development
- ubms package - Similar to unmarked,
but fits models with Stan and allows estimation of additional random effects (of site, year, etc.)
- IPMbook package
Other important resources on hierarchical modeling in ecology
page last updated: 26-Oct-2020