Linear-In-The-Parameters Oblique Least Squares (LOLS) Provides More Accurate Estimates of Density-Dependent Survival.

Survival is a fundamental demographic component and the importance of its accurate estimation goes beyond the traditional estimation of life expectancy. The evolutionary stability of isomorphic biphasic life-cycles and the occurrence of its different ploidy phases at uneven abundances are hypothesized to be driven by differences in survival rates between haploids and diploids. We monitored Gracilaria chilensis, a commercially exploited red alga with an isomorphic biphasic life-cycle, having found density-dependent survival with competition and Allee effects. While estimating the linear-in-the-parameters survival function, all model I regression methods (i.e, vertical least squares) provided biased line-fits rendering them inappropriate for studies about ecology, evolution or population management. Hence, we developed an iterative two-step non-linear model II regression (i.e, oblique least squares), which provided improved line-fits and estimates of survival function parameters, while robust to the data aspects that usually turn the regression methods numerically unstable.