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Chris Merkord

Distance Sampling Workshop, August 2012, University St. Andrews

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The Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) is hosting three linked workshops in the summer of 2012 in our purpose-built facilities at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. The aim of these workshops is to train participants in the latest methods for design and analysis of distance sampling surveys, including line and point transects. The workshops are taught by leading researchers in the field, using industry-standard software.

 

The first workshop (21-24 August) will run at an introductory level, and will focus on "conventional" distance sampling methods, as described in the standard reference book "Introduction to Distance Sampling." The workshop will be a blend of theory and practice and participants will learn how to use the program "Distance." Participants will gain a solid grounding in both survey design and methods of analysis for distance sampling surveys. Note that we have moved the 'automated survey design' topic out of the advanced workshop into the introductory workshop.

 

The advanced distance sampling workshop (27-30 August) will include advanced treatment of: incorporating covariates in detection function modelling, analyses in which detectability on the transect line is not assumed to be perfect (the so-called g(0) problem) and spatial (or density surface) modelling. The aim of this workshop is to bring participants up to date with the latest developments in distance sampling methods and software. It is also an opportunity for those actively engaged in the design, analysis and execution of distance sampling surveys to discuss common issues and problems, and set future research directions. The workshop will be a combination of lectures and computer sessions, with considerable time for discussion.

 

In addition, this year we are running a one-day introduction to density estimation from passive acoustic data (25 August). Passive acoustic monitoring is often used to obtain indices of relative abundance, such as number of detections per unit time. However, for many applications, the quantity we really want to estimate is absolute population abundance (i.e., the number of animals in the population) or density (number of animals per unit area). This day-long tutorial will give an insight into methods to achieve this.

 

For all workshops, participants are encouraged to bring their own data sets, and can expect to do some preliminary analyses with their data. Computer sessions take place in our modern computer classroom (attached to the seminar room); participants can use our computers or bring their own laptops.

 

Additional details regarding the workshop can be found at our website http://www.ruwpa.st-and.ac.uk/distance.workshops/distance2012/workshop_overview.html

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