Cue counting

Cue counting is a density / abundance estimation method in which, instead of surveying for the animals themselves, we look for cues the animals produce. Classic examples were whale blows (the literature that coined the term), nests or dung, but bird songs or whale sounds have taken over these methods in the last few years. A key difference is present regarding instantaneous versus cues that persist. To convert densities of cues to animal densities we need cue rates for the former (e.g. whale blows or beaked whale clicks), but cue rates and cue disappearance rates for the latter (e.g. nests and dung).

Related Publications

Buckland, S. T. 2006. Point transect surveys for songbirds: robust methodologies. The Auk, 123, 345-357


Laing, S. E.; Buckland, S. T.; Burn, R. W.; Lambie, D. and Amphlett, A. 2003. Dung and nest surveys: estimating decay rate Journal of Applied Ecology, 40, 1102-1111


Marques, T. A.; Thomas, L.; Ward, J.; DiMarzio, N. and Tyack, P. L. 2009. Estimating cetacean population density using fixed passive acoustic sensors: an example with Blainville's beaked whales The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125, 1982-1994


Ward, A. J. and Hiby, A. R. 1987.Analysis of cue-counting and blow rate estimation experiments carried out during the 1985/86 IDCR minke whale assessment cruise Report of the International Whaling Commission, 37, 259-262

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