Application of detectability in the use of indicator species: A case study with birds

John E. Quinn, James R. Brandle, Ron J. Johnson, Andrew J. Tyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The use of indicator species is popular in ecological monitoring and management. In recent years, new methods to improve the quality and application of indicator data have been proposed and developed. Here we propose the use of detection probability in the selection and application of indicator species. We evaluated environmental and observer factors believed to affect detection of potential species. Observer effects were the most evident factor and may necessitate the greatest consideration in the use of indicator species. Our results call attention to the fact that raw counts are far from accurate and that the use of detection probability can and should be incorporated into sampling protocols, species selection, and the allocation of effort for projects that use indicator species as part of monitoring and management programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1418
Number of pages6
JournalEcological Indicators
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Bioindication
  • Monitoring
  • Observer effect
  • Species inventory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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