Sina Mews (pictured) from Bielefeld University, Rachel McCrea from University of Kent, Richard Glennie from University of St Andrews, and Takis Besbeas from Athens University gathered on 3 September 2019 for an RSS conference session on applications of hidden Markov models (HMMs) in ecology, part of the environmental and spatial statistics stream.
Sina Mews’ work started as an applied project analysing the movements of endangered dolphins along the Scottish coast and lead to her developing a model for multistate capture-recapture data where capture history is a realisation of a HMM. Data collection is irregular, it depends on boat trips occurring. A seasonal pattern of dolphin movement was found, with dolphins spending more time north in summer and more time south in autumn. It was noted that the survival rate is biased if observations assumed to be dead are excluded.