A two- species occupancy model accommodating simultaneous spatial and interspecific dependence

Christopher T. Rota, Christopher K. Wikle, Roland W. Kays, Tavis D. Forrester, William J. McShea, Arielle W. Parsons, Joshua J. Millspaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Occupancy models are popular for estimating the probability a site is occupied by a species of interest when detection is imperfect. Occupancy models have been extended to account for interacting species and spatial dependence but cannot presently allow both factors to act simultaneously. We propose a two- species occupancy model that accommodates both interspecific and spatial dependence. We use a point- referenced multivariate hierarchical spatial model to account for both spatial and interspecific dependence. We model spatial random effects with predictive process models and use probit regression to improve efficiency of posterior sampling. We model occupancy probabilities of red fox ( Vulpes vulpes ) and coyote ( Canis latrans ) with camera trap data collected from six mid- Atlantic states in the eastern United States. We fit four models comprising a fully factorial combination of spatial and interspecific dependence to two- thirds of camera trapping sites and validated models with the remaining data. Red fox and coyotes each exhibited spatial dependence at distances >0.8 and 0.4 km, respectively, and exhibited geographic variation in interspecific dependence. Consequently, predictions from the model assuming simultaneous spatial and interspecific dependence best matched test data observations. This application highlights the utility of simultaneously accounting for spatial and interspecific dependence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-53
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Coyote ( Canis latrans )
  • Data augmentation
  • Detection probability
  • EM ammal
  • Geostatistical model
  • Hierarchical models
  • Interacting species
  • Point-referenced model
  • Red fox ( Vulpes vulpes )
  • Spatial statistics


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