R package for mark-recapture-distance-sampling analysis
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mrds - Mark-Recapture Distance Sampling

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What is mrds?

This package for R analyzes single or double observer distance sampling data for line or point sampling. It is used in program DISTANCE as one of the analysis engines. Supported double observer configurations include independent, trial and removal. All options in mrds are not yet fully supported via DISTANCE.

Getting mrds

The easiest way to ensure you have the latest version of mrds, is to install Hadley Wickham's devtools package:


then install mrds from github:



  • One can download a Windows package binary using the "Releases" tab in github. To install in R, from the R menu, use "Packages\Install from Local Zip file" and browse to location of downloaded zip.
  • Or, download package source files.
  • Finally the current stable version of mrds is available on CRAN, though this may be up to a month out of date due to CRAN policy.


The following are references for the methods used in the package.

Burt, M. L., D. L. Borchers, K. J. Jenking and T. A. Marques. (2014). "Using mark-recapture distance sampling methods on line transect surveys." Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5: 1180-1191.

Buckland, S. T., J. Laake, et al. (2010). "Double observer line transect methods: levels of independence." Biometrics 66: 169-177.

Borchers, D. L., J. L. Laake, et al. (2006). "Accommodating unmodeled heterogeneity in double-observer distance sampling surveys." Biometrics 62(2): 372-378.

Buckland, S. T., D. R. Anderson, et al., Eds. (2004). Advanced distance sampling: estimating abundance of biological populations. Oxford, UK; New York, Oxford University Press. (see chapter 6).