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Workshops of interest to ornithologists at the TWS 2012 meeting in Portland in October

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A number of workshops will be held at the 2012 meeting of The Wildlife Society in Portland, October 13-18. The following workshops might be of interest to ornithologists. Complete list of workshops at this meeting


All Day Workshops


Spatial Statistics in R SOLD OUT

Organizers: Andrew Duff, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, WA; Tabitha Graves, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ; Mevin Hooten, USGS Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; Ryan Nielson, WEST, Cheyenne, WY; Robin Russell, USGS National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, WI

Sponsors: Biometrics Working Group, Spatial Ecology and Telemetry Working Group

Pre-registration required: Professionals – $100, Students – $75

The goal of this workshop is to familiarize participants with current techniques in the analyses of spatial data and show how the R Statistical Computing Environment can be used as a flexible and powerful tool for modeling spatially referenced data. The intended audience is quantitative researchers and biometricians interested in analyzing spatial patterns in wildlife data including habitat selection and animal movements. The workshop will be most useful to participants who have a basic statistical background including an understanding of regression modeling, some experience with spatial data (i.e. have used ArcGIS, collected GPS locations in the field, or have conducted spatial analyses using software other than R), and some experience with R. The workshop will include an introduction to common spatial R packages and their uses, background information on spatial statistical theory using wildlife data examples, approaches to assessing landscape and wildlife connectivity, and an overview of resource selection functions. The workshop will focus on applied wildlife problems and emphasize the importance of proper study design and sampling regime when addressing spatial problems. Substantial previous experience with R is not required, but this workshop is not intended as an introduction to R. Participants should install R on their laptops prior to the workshop and be able to import files and be familiar with the use of libraries and packages. We intend to send out materials electronically prior to the workshop.


An Introduction to Structured Decision Making for Natural Resources

Organizers: Michael J. Conroy, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; James. T. Peterson, USGS Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Oregon State University Corvallis, OR

Sponsor: Biometrics Working Group

Pre-registration required: Professionals – $100, Students – $75

In this course, we provide an overview of structured decision-making with an emphasis on wildlife resource applications. We also introduce adaptive resource management (ARM) as a special case of SDM that involves sequential dynamic decision-making. We detail the steps and techniques used to create and evaluate quantitative decision models. We also provide a hands-on section in which participants build and parameterize a simple decision model. Our primary aim is to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of SDM in a format that does not require extensive quantitative understanding and skills and that both graduate students and established natural resource managers can understand.


Behind the Scenes of Scientific Publication and Critical Review

Organizers: K.L. Nicholson, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID; A. Gramza, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; K. Boyd, Troy, MT; J. Merkle, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

Sponsors: Student Professional Development Working Group and Early Career Professional Working Group

Pre-registration required: Professionals – $25, Students – $10

The peer-review process forms the foundation of credible knowledge in every scientific field by exposing research to rigorous scrutiny. Surprisingly there is little training in graduate school on how to develop critical reviewing skills needed to participate in the peer-review process. Challenges for the novice reviewer include confusion in the varying publication guidelines of journals and the surprising lack of discussion regarding best practices to ensure a useful and thoughtful review. Nonetheless, the goals of peer review are crystal clear: to ensure the accuracy and improve the quality of published literature through constructive criticism. To make the peer review process as efficient and productive as possible, this workshop will provide useful approaches to tackling major steps throughout the review—from contemplating a review request and reading and assessing the manuscript, to writing the review and interacting with the journal’s editors. The workshop will also provide useful approaches to writing and submitting your own papers, particularly explaining how to address reviewers’ comments, and which journal to pick in the first place. Each attendee will be emailed manuscripts prior to the workshop, and they will be responsible for conducting their own peer reviews to the best of their ability. This workshop is particularly relevant for graduate students or other first-time reviewers seeking to enhance their ability to participate in the peer-review process of scientific publication.


Portland: A Green City for People and Wildlife

Organizers: David Drake, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI; Chris Moorman, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC; Leslie Bliss-Ketchum; Portland State University, Portland, OR

Sponsors: The Wildlife Society Urban Wildlife Working Group, North Carolina State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Portland State University

Pre-registration required: Professionals – $70, Students – $50

Portland, Oregon is a leader among metropolitan areas in terms of innovative efforts to incorporate wildlife conservation into the planning and design of a rapidly growing community. The purpose of this workshop is to provide an opportunity for conference attendees, local citizens, and representatives from conservation organizations, such as the Intertwine Alliance and local agencies, such as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the City of Portland to exchange information about managing wildlife populations, protecting critical habitat, and responding to human-wildlife interactions in Portland’s urban and suburban environments. Participants will also learn about approaches to urban wildlife management in other U.S. cities. Students who attend the workshop will benefit by better understanding the roles of wildlife professionals, regional planners, parks and recreation managers, and not-for-profit partners in urban wildlife management. The workshop will be entirely in the field with presenters at various stops.


Investigating Wildlife Disease: Sampling and Interpretation Techniques for Biologists

Organizers: Margaret A. Wild, National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO; Richard N. Brown, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

Sponsors: American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians and The Wildlife Society Wildlife Disease Working Group

Pre-registration required: Professionals – $70, Students – $50

Increased recognition of disease as a significant component of wildlife management has resulted in a growing need for biologists to collect, handle, and submit samples from wildlife and to interpret resultant diagnostic data. Opportunistic sampling of live animals or carcasses, as well as studies designed specifically to investigate wildlife disease, provide the potential to gain knowledge of wildlife pathogens and their impacts on the health of wildlife population, domestic animals, and humans. Maximizing the quality, usefulness, and application of wildlife pathogen samples and data requires a clear understanding of appropriate sample collection, handling, and processing. Similarly safety depends on observing appropriate biosafety technique. In this workshop, laboratory diagnosticians experienced in wildlife will provide specific information and hands-on demonstrations with tissues, blood and locally acquired animal carcasses necessary for biologists to make decisions including what samples to collect, what information these samples may provide, how to document, preserve, and transport the samples, and how to obtain appropriate diagnostic testing. To help ensure human health when collecting samples, guidance and demonstrations on safe work practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided by public health consultants experienced in working with biologists. Finally, we will provide information and examples of diagnostic data interpretation and associated scientific analysis and reporting. Case studies will be presented to allow participants an opportunity to practice implementing techniques discussed and demonstrated during lectures.


Avian Interactions with Power Lines Workshop

Organizers: Sherry Liguori, Pacific Power/Rocky Mountain Power, Salt Lake City, UT; Peggy Jelen, APS Forestry, Phoenix, AZ

Pre-registration required: Professionals – $65, Students – $45

This course will provide an overview of avian interactions with power lines, including discussion on Avian Protection Plans (APPs). The course will review the causes of bird electrocutions and collisions with power lines, regulations protecting migratory birds, measures to reduce bird mortality associated with power lines, management of raptor nests on power lines, minimizing impacts to birds associated with construction activities, and the development of APPs that allow utilities to protect migratory birds while enhancing power reliability. Instructors include members of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC), a national group comprised of utility and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists dedicated to addressing bird/power line interactions. Course participants will receive copies of current APLIC guidance documents.


Half Day Workshops


Pollutants and Wildlife Management: Ecotoxicology for Biologists and Land Managers

Organizers: Tim Bargar, U.S. Geological Survey Southeast Ecological Science Center, Gainesville, FL; Carrie Marr, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Phoenix, AZ; Joseph Sullivan, Ardea Consulting, Woodland, CA

Sponsor: The Wildlife Society Wildlife Toxicology Working Group

Pre-registration required: Professionals – $25, Students – $10

Contaminants can be important environmental stressors. Widely publicized are effects from hazardous chemical spills, such as the Exxon Valdez or Deepwater Horizon oil spills. But what about long-term, low-level exposure to pesticides from agriculture—should you be concerned? Not all pollution presents wildlife management problems. How can you tell if it is a problem? Are you worried about pollution on managed properties? Have you ever wondered how pollution-related problems are managed? We will answer these questions and more in a half-day workshop for wildlife biologists and land managers who want to have a basic understanding of approaches, methods and data interpretation of potential pollution issues. We will explain basic pollution risk assessment concepts such as exposure (“how much pollution is at my site?”) and effect (“how do I know how much is OK, or how much is bad?”) levels. We’ll also discuss contaminant types and their effects, safety considerations, and techniques/tools to provide a better understanding of pollution risk assessments. Throughout, we will use case studies to illustrate concepts and provide real-world examples that other wildlife biologists and land managers have faced. Workshop participants will receive a CD with important papers related to case studies discussed in class. The workshop will count as credit toward contact hours for TWS certification or certification renewal. This workshop is intended as an introductory to intermediate discussion of ecotoxicology.


Résumé and Interview Strategies for the Early Career Professional

Organizer: Heather Bernier, Lakeview District BLM, Klamath Falls, OR; Rebecca Goggans, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Sponsors: Bureau of Land Management and Oregon State University.

Pre-registration required: Professionals – $25, Students – $10

Learn how to transform a résumé from average to outstanding! This session will cover successful techniques to format your résumé and provide effective detail in your accomplishments that a potential employer can review in 30 seconds. We will address ways to demonstrate your depth and breadth of work experience as well as cover a comprehensive strategy for writing cover letters that highlights your skills targeted towards specific jobs. Participants will also learn a simple strategy to make the most out of any interview and tackle difficult questions—tips that can help differentiate you from your peers.


Nature’s Notebook: Tracking wildlife and habitat within changing environments

Organizers: Jake F. Weltzin, U.S. Geological Survey and USA National Phenology Network, Tucson, AZ; Carolyn Enquist, The Wildlife Society and USA National Phenology Network, Tucson, AZ

Sponsor: USA National Phenology Network

Pre-registration required: Professionals – $25, Students – $10

This workshop will introduce participants to Nature’s Notebook, a web-based plant and animal phenology observation program designed to provide easy access to species lists and standardized protocols via a user-friendly interface for entering observational data. In addition to providing a hands-on demonstration of the program, we will describe and discuss opportunities to further integrate phenology, ecology, and climate change research into classrooms and citizen science programs. For example, we will demonstrate new online tools for visualizing phenology data and linking them to ancillary data sets such as temperature and precipitation. We also will describe how phenology monitoring can facilitate the achievement of a suite of natural resource management goals, ranging from education, public outreach and adaptive resource management objectives to implementing climate change adaptation strategies such as conducting vulnerability assessments and climate-informed monitoring. Participants will leave the workshop with a greater understanding of the utility of phenology monitoring for climate change understanding and adaptation, and with experience in the use of a phenology data management and visualization tool that they can bring to their own science, management, or education programs.


An Introduction to HexSim

Organizers: Nathan H. Schumaker, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Corvallis, OR; Allen Brookes, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Corvallis, OR

Pre-registration required: Professionals – $25, Students – $10

This half-day workshop will provide participants with an introduction to the HexSim wildlife simulation model (available at www.hexsim.net). HexSim is not only spatially explicit and individual-based, but it is also a multi-population and multi-stressor model that is ideal for exploring the impacts on wildlife of interacting disturbance regimes. This model is the result of many years of intensive development, and it is still fairly new to the scientific community. HexSim will be useful for many wildlife conservation and management studies, for research into stressor interactions, disease spread, landscape genetics, and many other topics. HexSim runs on Windows, is distributed free of charge, has a complete graphical user interface, and comes with documentation and examples.

This workshop will be led by the two researchers principally responsible for HexSim’s development. Nathan Schumaker, a landscape ecologist, is the author of both the PATCH and HexSim models. Allen Brookes, a computer scientist, wrote the majority of the HexSim model code. In part one of the workshop, attendees will receive an introduction to, and overview of HexSim. In part two, attendees will work through several specific example simulations as a group. The final third of the workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees to pursue one or more topics from a collection of worked examples. The instructors will help participants navigate through these more complex scenarios. All training materials will be provided by the instructors, and participants need only bring a laptop computer running Windows.

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