Applied Bayesian modelling for ecologists and epidemiologists (ABME03)
Delivered by Dr. Matt Denwood and Prof. Jason Matthiopoulos
This 6 day course will run from 20th – 25th November 2017 at SCENE field
station, Loch Lomond national park, Scotland.
This application-driven course will provide a founding in the basic theory
& practice of Bayesian statistics, with a focus on MCMC modelling for
ecological & epidemiological problems.
Starting from a refresher on probability & likelihood, the course will take
students all the way to cutting-edge applications such as state-space
population modelling & spatial point-process modelling. By the end of the
week, you should have a basic understanding of how common MCMC samplers
work and how to program them, and have practical experience with the BUGS
language for common ecological and epidemiological models. The experience
gained will be a sufficient foundation enabling you to understand current
papers using Bayesian methods, carry out simple Bayesian analyses on your
own data and springboard into more elaborate applications such as
dynamical, spatial and hierarchical modelling.
Course content is as follows
• Revision of likelihoods using full likelihood profiles and an
introduction to the theory of Bayesian statistics.
o Probability and likelihood
o Conditional, joint and total probability, independence, Baye’s law
o Probability distributions
o Uniform, Bernoulli, Binomial, Poisson, Gamma, Beta and Normal
distributions – their range, parameters and common usesoLikelihood and
parameter estimation by maximum likelihood
o Numerical likelihood profiles and maximum likelihood
• Introduction to Bayesian statistics
o Relationship between prior, likelihood & posterior distributions
o Summarising a posterior distribution; The philosophical differences
between frequentist & Bayesian statistics, & the practical implications of
o Applying Bayes’ theorem to discrete & continuous data for common
data types given different priors
o Building a posterior profile for a given dataset, & compare the
effect of different priors for the same data
• An introduction to the workings of mcmc, and the potential dangers
of mcmc inference. Participants will program their own (basic) mcmc
sampler to illustrate the concepts and fully understand the strengths and
weaknesses of the general approach. The day will end with an introduction
to the bugs language.
o Introduction to MCMC.
o The curse of dimensionality & the advantages of MCMC sampling to
determine a posterior distribution.
o Monte Carlo integration, standard error, & summarising samples from
posterior distributions in R .
o Writing a Metropolis algorithm & generating a posterior
distribution for a simple problem using MCMC.
o Markov chains, autocorrelation & convergence.
o Definition of a Markov chain.
o Autocorrelation, effective sample size and Monte Carlo error.
o The concept of a stationary distribution and burning.
o Requirement for convergence diagnostics, and common statistics for
o Adapting an existing Metropolis algorithm to use two chains, &
assessing the effect of the sampling distribution on the autocorrelation.
o Introduction to BUGS & running simple models in JAGS.
o Introduction to the BUGS language & how a BUGS model is translated
to an MCMC sampler during compilation.
o The difference between deterministic & stochastic nodes, & the
contribution of priors & the likelihood.
o Running, extending & interpreting the output of simple JAGS models
from within R using the runjags interface.
• This day will focus on the common models for which jags/bugs would
be used in practice, with examples given for different types of model
code. All aspects of writing, running, assessing and interpreting these
models will be extensively discussed so that participants are able and
confident to run similar models on their own. There will be a particularly
heavy focus on practical sessions during this day. The day will finish
with a discussion of how to assess the fit of mcmc models using the
deviance information criterion (dic) and other methods.
o Using JAGS for common problems in biology.
o Understanding and generating code for basic generalised linear
mixed models in JAGS.
o Syntax for quadratic terms and interaction terms in JAGS.
o Essential fitting tips and model selection.
o The need for minimal cross-correlation and independence between
parameters and how to design a model with these properties.
o The practical methods and implications of minimizing Monte Carlo
error and autocorrelation, including thinning.
o Interpreting the DIC for nested models, and understanding the
limitations of how this is calculated.
o Other methods of model selection and where these might be more
useful than DIC.
o Most commonly used methods Rationale and use for fixed threshold,
ABGD, K/theta, PTP, GMYC with computer practicals.
o Other methods, Haplowebs, bGMYC, etc. with computer practicals
• Day 4 will focus on the flexibility of mcmc, and precautions
required for using mcmc to model commonly encountered datasets. An
introduction to conjugate priors and the potential benefits of exploiting
gibbs sampling will be given. More complex types of models such as
hierarchical models, latent class models, mixture models and state space
models will be introduced and discussed. The practical sessions will
follow on from day 3.
o General guidance for model specification.
o The flexibility of the BUGS language and MCMC methods.
o The difference between informative and diffuse priors.
o Conjugate priors and how they can be used.
o Gibbs sampling.
o State space models.
o Hierarchical and state space models.
o Latent class and mixture models.
o Conceptual application to animal movement.
o Hands-on application to population biology.
o Conceptual application to epidemiology
• Day 5 will give some additional practical guidance for the use of
Bayesian methods in practice, and finish with a brief overview of more
advanced Bayesian tools such as inla and stan.
o Additional Bayesian methods.
o Understand the usefulness of conjugate priors for robust analysis
of proportions (Binomial and Multinomial data).
o Be aware of some methods of prior elicitation.
o Advanced Bayesian tools.
o Strengths and weaknesses of Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation
(INLA) compared to BUGS.
o Strengths and weaknesses of Stan compared to BUGS
• Round table discussions and problem solving with final Q and A
round table discussion and problem solving with final Q and A.
o The final day will consist of round table discussions, the class
will be split in to smaller groups to discuss set topics/problems. This
will include participants own data where possible. After an early lunch
there will be a general question and answer time until approx. 2pm as a
whole group before transport to Balloch train station.
There will be a 15 minute morning coffee break, an hour for lunch, and a15
minute afternoon coffee break. We keep the timing of these flexible
depending how the course advances. Breakfast is from 08:00-08:45 and dinner
is at 18:00 each day.
Please email any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our
Please feel free to distribute this material anywhere you feel is suitable
PR stats other courses
1. META-ANALYSIS IN ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
24th – 28th July, Scotland, Prof. Julia Koricheva, Prof. Elena Kulinskaya
2. SPATIAL ANALYSIS OF ECOLOGICAL DATA USING R #SPAE
7th – 12th August 2017, Scotland, Prof. Jason Matthiopoulos, Dr. James
3. ECOLOGICAL NICHE MODELLING USING R #ENMR
16th – 20th October 2017, Scotland, Dr. Neftali Sillero
4. GENETIC DATA ANALYSIS AND EXPLORATION USING R #GDAR
23rd – 27th October, Wales, Dr. Thibaut Jombart, Zhian Kavar
5. STRUCTURAL EQUATION MODELLING FOR ECOLOGISTS AND EVOLUTIONARY
BIOLOGISTS USING R #SEMR
23rd – 27th October, Wales, Prof Jarrett Byrnes, Dr. Jon Lefcheck
6. LANDSCAPE (POPULATION) GENETIC DATA ANALYSIS USING R #LNDG
6th – 10th November, Wales, Prof. Rodney Dyer
7. APPLIED BAYESIAN MODELLING FOR ECOLOGISTS AND EPIDEMIOLOGISTS #ABME
20th - 25th November 2017, Scotland, Prof. Jason Matthiopoulos, Dr. Matt
8. ADVANCING IN STATISTICAL MODELLING USING R #ADVR
11th – 15th December 2017, Wales, Dr. Luc Bussiere, Dr. Tom Houslay, Dr.
Ane Timenes Laugen,
9. INTRODUCTION TO BAYESIAN HIERARCHICAL MODELLING #IBHM
29th Jan – 2nd Feb 2018, Scotland, Dr. Andrew Parnell
10. PHYLOGENETIC DATA ANALYSIS USING R (TBC) #PHYL
28th Jan – Feb 2nd Dr. Emmanuel Paradis – Date and location to be confirmed
11. ANIMAL MOVEMENT ECOLOGY (February 2018) #ANME
19th – 23rd February 2018, Wales, Dr Luca Borger, Dr. John Fieberg
12. GEOMETRIC MORPHOMETRICS USING R #GMMR
5th – 9th June 2017, Scotland, Prof. Dean Adams, Prof. Michael Collyer, Dr.
13. FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY FROM ORGANISM TO ECOSYSTEM: THEORY AND
5th – 9th March 2018, Scotland, Dr. Francesco de Bello, Dr. Lars
Götzenberger, Dr. Carlos Carmona
14. MODEL BASE MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS OF ABUNDANCE DATA USING R #MBMV0
8th – 12th July 2018, Prof David Warton
15. ADVANCES IN MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS OF SPATIAL ECOLOGICAL DATA USING
Prof. Pierre Legendre, Dr. Olivier Gauthier - Date and location to be
16. STABLE ISOTOPE MIXING MODELS USING SIAR, SIBER AND MIXSIAR #SIMM
Dr. Andrew Parnell, Dr. Andrew Jackson – Date and location to be confirmed
17. NETWORK ANAYLSIS FOR ECOLOGISTS USING R #NTWA
Dr. Marco Scotti - Date and location to be confirmed
18. MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS OF SPATIAL ECOLOGICAL DATA #MASE
Prof. Subhash Lele, Dr. Peter Solymos - Date and location to be confirmed
19. TIME SERIES MODELS FOR ECOLOGISTS USING R (JUNE 2017 #TSME
Dr. Andrew Parnell - Date and location to be confirmed
PR informatics other courses
1. BIOINFORMATICS FOR GENETICISTS AND BIOLOGISTS #BIGB
3rd – 7th July 2017, Scotland, Dr. Nic Blouin, Dr. Ian Misner
2. INTRODUCTION TO BIOINFORMATICS USING LINUX #IBUL
16th – 20th October, Scotland, Dr. Martin Jones
3. INTRODUCTION TO PYTHON FOR BIOLOGISTS #IPYB
27th Nov – 1st Dec, Wales, Dr. Martin Jones
4. INTRODUCTION REMOTE SENSING AND GIS APPLICATIONS FOR ECOLOGISTS
27th Nov – 1st Dec, Wales, Dr Duccio Rocchini, Dr. Luca Delucchi
5. DATA VISUALISATION AND MANIPULATION USING PYTHON #DVMP
11th – 15th December 2017, Wales, Dr. Martin Jones
6. EUKARYOTIC METABARCODING
23rd – 27th July 2018, Scotland, Dr. Owen Wangensteen
7. CODING, DATA MANAGEMENT AND SHINY APPLICATIONS USING RSTUDIO FOR
EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGISTS AND ECOLOGISTS #CDSR
Dr. Aline Quadros
Oliver Hooker PhD.
2017 publications -
Ecosystem size predicts eco-morphological variability in post-glacial
diversification. Ecology and Evolution. In press.
The physiological costs of prey switching reinforce foraging
specialization. Journal of animal ecology.
3/1, 128 Brunswick Street
+44 (0) 7966500340
Course on Applied Bayesian Modelling For Ecologists Nov 20-25
Posted 06 July 2017 - 07:28 AM
Applied Bayesian modelling for ecologists and epidemiologists (ABME03)
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members(s), 0 guests(s) and 0 anonymous member(s)