Statistical Ecology researchers publish on underlying state-structure of Hidden Markov Models

Canada Geese

Rachel McCrea, Professor of Statistics at SMSAS, and Anita Jeyam, former PhD student at Statistical Ecology at Kent, have co authored an article with Roger Pradel (Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive) entitled ‘A Test for the Underlying State-Structure of Hidden Markov Models: Partially Observed Capture-Recapture Data‘, recently published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Hidden Markov models (HMMs) are being widely used in the field of ecological modeling, however determining the number of underlying states in an HMM remains a challenge. In this paper, the researchers examine a special case of capture-recapture models for open populations, where some animals are observed but it is not possible to ascertain their state (partial observations), whilst the other animals’ states are assigned without error (complete observations). The researchers propose a mixture test of the underlying state structure generating the partial observations, which assesses whether they are compatible with the set of states observed in the complete observations. The researchers demonstrate the good performance of the test using simulation and through application to a data set of Canada Geese.

The full article is available to read in full on the Frontiers In website, here: