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  1. FROM SMITHSONIAN-MASON SCHOOL OF CONSERVATION: We wanted to send out an update about our remaining courses for 2018. We’ve had a huge amount of interest in our Spring and Summer programs, many of which are now full. The three courses below are the programs that still have seats remaining. Two of these programs are brand-new offerings and so please do what you can to spread the word to your colleagues! Remember that all courses offer continuing education credits (CEUs) and some can be taken also be taken for graduate credit, including the first two courses below. Limited scholarships are available for eligible applicants. As always, check out our website (http://SMConservation.gmu.edu) for more course details and pricing. Non-Invasive Techniques and Applications in Wildlife Endocrinology (new!) July 23 – August 3, 2018 (apply before May 14) The purpose of this course, taught by the experts at the National Zoo’s Endocrinology Laboratory, is to provide theoretical information and practical experience in using endocrine monitoring techniques for assessing reproductive status and welfare in wildlife species, both in captive and wild scenarios. Lectures will cover aspects of basic biology, theory of immunoassay methodology, reproductive endocrinology and stress physiology, and examples of data obtained from in-situ and ex situ studies of wildlife species. Extensive lab work will include demonstrations and hands-on experience in sample (urine and feces) processing and analysis using enzyme immunoassay technology. Computer lab sessions will include basic and advanced data analysis techniques. Participants will also work on independent group projects where they will apply what they have learned and complete a full lab analysis and data interpretation themselves. A comprehensive endocrine training manual will be provided to course participants. This course is available for graduate credit to eligible applicants. Ecology and Conservation of Migratory Birds September 17-28, 2018 Led by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, this course teaches the most current methods in the research of migratory birds including theoretical concepts, field and laboratory methods (e.g. mist-netting, banding, tissue sampling, stable isotope geochemistry, geolocators and radio telemetry), data analysis (including distance sampling and mark-recapture statistics) and applied conservation strategies. Participants will be mist-netting and handling birds during many mornings of the course, and will also learn to prepare museum voucher study skins. This course is available for graduate credit to eligible applicants. Bioinformatics Analysis for Conservation Genomics (new!) October 10-19, 2018 This course is designed to provide attendees at any career stage with a theoretical understanding of the methods used in conservation genomics along with the practical skills necessary to design and carry out the analysis component of a conservation genomics study. While an introduction to the theoretical aspects of each of the analytical steps will be given, the emphasis of the course will be on hands-on training, enabling the participants to complete the analysis steps behind a conservation genomics study. Thus, the course will follow the format of short lectures introducing each analytical step, followed by hands-on activities during which students will complete the corresponding analysis. The course will begin with an overview of conservation genomics, comparison of different next generation sequencing platforms, and the analytical factors to consider when beginning a conservation genomics study. The rest of the course will focus on the bioinformatics analysis behind a conservation study, including: genome assembly (trimming, assembly techniques, quality assessment), genome annotation, mapping low coverage genome data to a reference genome, SNP calling, demographic analysis, and estimation of genome-wide diversity. These steps will all be accomplished with real data used in a recent conservation genomics study and performed on the Smithsonian High Performance Computing Cluster (SI/HPC). By the end of the course, attendees will have acquired the necessary background and applied knowledge to implement genomic analyses for the conservation of endangered species. Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation participants engage in dynamic learning communities, build lifelong professional networks, and connect with valuable conservation resources
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