Likelihood Methods in Ecology


R Code and Tutorials

R is a free, open-source platform for statistical computing. It is powerful and constantly growing. It can be frustrating to learn, but is well worth the effort. See the R site for downloads and documentation.

Lora Murphy and Charlie Canham have assembled a package of R code to facilitate likelihood analyses.

The “likelihood” package contains a set of functions for maximum likelihood estimation using simulated annealing, a global optimization routine. The implementation of simulated annealing is adapted from Goffe et al. (1994), and allows bounded searches.  The package is posted on CRAN, and can be installed from within R.

For more details, see the section on Package Installation in a brief introduction to R we put together for the course.


  • Goffe, W. L., G. D. Ferrier, and J. Rogers. 1994. Global optimization of statistical functions with simulated annealing. Journal of Econometrics 60: 65-99.