# How to account for a lack of fit using a quasi-poisson on non-integer, overdispersed data

I am trying to run a mixed model on over-dispersed non-integer data. My data are not counts, but are zero-inflated and over dispersed. The variable is distance (how far a gps point is from a central location) and as such looks like: 0.33, 64.73, 5.2 etc. I have been using a quasi-Poisson distribution as I have read that quasi can handle non-integer data (both Poisson and negative binomial cannot). I am using the glmmPQL function in package MASS as this allows quasi distributions with a random term (the identity of the individual that the gps point comes from).The functions glmm and lmer do not work with a quasi-Poisson distribution. Plotting the residuals indicates a lack of fit of this model.log-transforming the data to try and make it normal before hand also fails (the Shapiro-test for normality is significant). I am unsure how to fix this, as I seemingly have to use a quasi-distribution (link="log") because my data is not counts, non-integer and not normal but there is still overdispersion and lack of fit when using this distribution.

My question therefore is: How to model over-dispersed, non-integer data in a mixed model when quasi-Poisson does not seem to work?

My code so far is:

summary(glmmPQL(distance_from_centroid~Chick.Juv.Adult+Summer_winter,
data=centroid_distances))


Which results in:

Linear mixed-effects model fit by maximum likelihood
Data: centroid_distances
AIC BIC logLik
NA  NA     NA

Random effects:
Formula: ~1 | markingnumber
(Intercept) Residual
StdDev:    1.157381 2.136811

Variance function:
Structure: fixed weights
Formula: ~invwt
Fixed effects: distance._from_centroid ~ Chick.Juv.Adult + Summer_winter
Value  Std.Error  DF   t-value p-value
(Intercept)       2.0670095 0.09403952 695 21.980221  0.0000
Chick.Juv.AdultC -0.2945360 0.06686399 695 -4.405002  0.0000
Chick.Juv.AdultJ -0.2005831 0.06727181 695 -2.981682  0.0030
Summer_winterW    0.1207721 0.04324588 695  2.792684  0.0054
Correlation:
(Intr) C.J.AC C.J.AJ
Summer_winterW   -0.267  0.134  0.043

Standardized Within-Group Residuals:
Min          Q1         Med          Q3         Max
-2.53759073 -0.48277169 -0.31041612  0.06314122  7.48672836

Number of Observations: 1009
Number of Groups: 311
`

Which when plotting the residuals gives me: There is not really such a thing as "over-dispersed data" in abstract. Over-dispersion means that the variability of the data is more than expected, and without a specific context there is no "expected" dispersion. An expected variability exists in just a few specific situations usually involving count data: for example, binomial sampling (number of successes out of n trials) and Poisson sampling (number of events over a period of time with a constant instantaneous event rate). For these settings one can derive the distribution, and it turns out that the variance is a function of the mean. For example, for binomial $E(X)=np$, and $Var(X)=np(1-p)$, while for Poisson $E(X)=Var(X)=\lambda$. So once you know the mean, you know what the variance should be. If you have count data that is generated by a Poisson-like sampling process with some deviations (eg individuals have their own event rate) and you find that $Var(X)>E(X)$, then you can talk of over-dispersion relative to the Poisson distribution.