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. Not all options in mrds are fully supported via DISTANCE.

If you only wish to perform a conventional or multiple covariate distance sampling analysis (CDS/MCDS) (as opposed to a double observer analysis), you may want to try the Distance R package, which has a simplified interface and is available from

Getting mrds

The easiest way to ensure you have the latest version of mrds, is to install using the remotes package:


then install mrds from github:




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

Burt, M. L., D. L. Borchers, K. J. Jenkins 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).