Markov Chain Nest Productivity Model Estimating Tool

What is MCestimate?

Markov Chain Nest Productivity Model Estimating Tool (MCestimate) estimates probabilities of failure in the presence of competing risks. Competing risks arise in virtually all stochasticHelpstochasticBased on the assumption that the actions of a chemical substance results from probabilistic events. processes and MCestimate can be applied in many contexts, including carcass-searches at anthropogenicHelpanthropogenicMade by people or resulting from human activities. Usually used in the context of emissions that are produced as a result of human activities. hazards and correcting mortality estimates in laboratory toxicity tests. It was originally developed to facilitate the study of causes of avian nest-failure.


The user's guide introduces the model and provides step-by-step instructions on how to use it. The technical manual provides most of the equations underlying the model.  Go to the MCestimate Documentation page to download PDF versions of these documents.

MCestimate consists of a zip file and the Matlab Compiler Runtime (see instructions below for how to download this file from the Mathworks website). The file contains three files, MCestimate.exe, SimData.xls, and SimDataBad.xlsx.

Download (3 September 2013)(755 K)

MCestimate was designed in Matlab R2012a and requires the Matlab Compiler Runtime (MCR) to be installed on your computer. MCestimate will not run without the MCR. Due to its size, we are not hosting the MCR on our website. It can be downloaded free of charge from the Mathworks website. The required version is the Windows 32-bit MCR for Matlab release 2012a.

MCestimate is a working model designed for research purposes. As such it changes constantly, and is updated whenever bugs are discovered.

Background References

Custer, C., Custer, T.W., Dummer, P.W., Etterson, M.A., Thogmartin, W.E., Wu, Q. Kannan, K. Trowbridge, A. and McKann,P.A. In Press. Exposure and effects of perfluorinated compounds in tree swallows nesting in Minnesota and Wisconsin, USA. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

Etterson, M., L. Nagy, and T. Robinson. 2007. Partitioning risk among different sources of nest-failure. The Auk 124:432-443.

Etterson, M., B. Olsen, and R. Greenberg. 2007. The analysis of covariates in multi-fate Markov chain nest failure models. Studies in Avian Biology 34:55-64.

Jackson, A.K., D.C. Evers, M.A. Etterson, A.M. Condon, S.B. Folsom, J.Detweiler, J. Schmerfeld, and D.A. Cristol. 2011. Mercury exposure affects the reproductive success of a free-living terrestrial songbird, the Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus). Auk 128:759-769.

Johnson, T.N, P.L. Kennedy, and M.A. Etterson. 2012 Factors influencing cause-specific nest-failure of grassland passerines in grazed prairie. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:1607-1616.

For Further Information

For further information, please contact Matt Etterson, (218) 529-5158.