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Start Time: 18 February 2013 18:00
End Time: 18 February 2013 19:00



Using statistics to study wildlife
ICMS, 15 South College Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AA

Kate Searle (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology)
Analysis of ecological data: "ecology isn't rocket science, it's harder"

Drawing inference in ecology is inherently difficult. Ecological processes and systems are multi-faceted and multi-scaled, such that an understanding of any individual part of the system requires recognition of drivers and constraints resulting from many interconnected processes. Moreover, states and variables within ecological systems are often not able to be measured directly, but must be inferred from surrogate observations. This means that ecological data typically confounds simple statistical approaches due to factors such as detectability, sampling error, overdispersion, zero-inflation, and unequal sampling effort over space and time. In this presentation I will give a brief overview of statistical problems commonly encountered by wildlife ecologists, and present examples of empirical approaches for overcoming, or at least mitigating, some of these issues.
 
Megan Towers (Scottish Natural Heritage)
Working as a statistician within Scottish Natural Heritage

This talk will include work to look at power analyses for monitoring otter activity within the Scottish Beaver Trial and revegation within the Monadhliath mountains. The former is an example of estimating the sample size necessary to detect a given effect size and the latter is an example of estimating what effect size it is reasonable to be able to detect given the current monitoring effort.
 
Ruth King (University of St. Andrews)
Incorporating individual time-varying covariates within the analysis of capture-recapture data
Capture-recapture studies are often undertaken in order to obtain data on wildlife populations, where individuals are repeatedly sampled over a period of time. Within such studies interest often lies in the relationship between survival probabilities and individual level covariates (such as weight, breeding status etc.). However, individuals are typically not observed at every capture event, leading to unobserved (or missing) time-varying individual covariates at these times. Recent approaches for dealing with such missing covariate information within capture-recapture data will be presented and discussed.

Refreshments from 5.30pm

The meeting will be followed by the AGM of the Edinburgh RSS local group


Meeting organiser: Adam Butler




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