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Estimating Animal Abundance and Occupancy, May 19-30, 2014

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MCCS 0511: Estimating Animal Abundance and Occupancy

This course is designed to provide a strong theoretical and analytical background to wildlife and conservation professionals in distance sampling, mark-recapture, and occupancy modeling techniques, with a strong focus on the practical use of field data in the programs DISTANCE, MARK and PRESENCE. In the intensive 2-week program, a day of broad introduction to the course and the statistical concepts that underlie all three analytical techniques will be followed by approximately three days of focus on each type of analysis. Each 3-day module will begin with a detailed treatment of theoretical concepts and case studies, followed by computer work with each respective program.


Computer work will include use of real field data, and focus on identifying problems with one’s dataset, selecting appropriate models, and interpreting analysis results. Case studies will focus on vertebrate studies, primarily involving birds and terrestrial mammals. By the end of the course, participants will be comfortable identifying the scientific questions that can be addressed with each technique and implementing basic analyses in all three programs. More advanced techniques in each program will be demonstrated, indicating when they are appropriate and how results can be interpreted. Finally, participants will leave the course with a detailed list of available resources, in both print and online, to assist in the use of more advanced techniques. Each course module will be led by a different team of expert instructors. Mark-recapture analysis in the program MARK will be taught by Dr. Gary White (author and maintainer of the program), and occupancy modeling in the program PRESENCE will be led by Jim Hines (author and maintainer of the program) and Drs. Jim Nichols and Evan Grant from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Distance sampling will be taught by Smithsonian ecologist Dr. Joe Kolowski.




May 19-30, 2014




Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia


Application Procedure


Estimating Animal Abundance and Occupancy is offered through the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation as a professional training course for 6 Continuing Education Credits (CEUs). Applications may be submitted using our Online Application Page. Before beginning our online application, please have .pdf or .doc versions of your updated CV, a Personal Statement of Interest and Qualifications (maximum 350 words), and a Professional Letter of Recommendation. You’ll be asked to attach these with your application.


For first consideration, apply before March 10, 2014


Course Costs


Payment Deadline: March 24, 2014


The total cost for this course is $3,478 (Course fee of $2100 + Housing and Dining Package of $1,378) and includes:


Registration fees

Instruction, course manual, textbooks and other course materials

Pick-up and drop-off at Dulles International airport, and transportation for course activities

Daily full-service buffet at the SMSC Dining Commons – Dining begins with dinner on Sunday, May 18 and ends with brunch on Saturday, May 31.

Housing at the SMSC Residential Facility, including a shared room with bathroom (single rooms available at extra cost) – Lodging begins Sunday night, May 18 and check out is Saturday, May 31.



Scholarships are available on a competitive basis for eligible international applicants.



For more information


Email SCBItraining@si.edu.




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