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Tim O'Connell

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4 Has posted some good stuff

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    Stillwater, OK
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    United States

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  1. Mary was such a wonderful role model, mentor, scientist, conservationist, editor, human, etc. Those of us lucky enough to have had the chance to work with her in service to the Wilson Ornithological Society understand how much we benefited from her leadership and will much we will miss her friendship. We will be scheduling some time for a special remembrance of Mary at our joint annual meeting with the Association of Field Ornithologists in Cape May, NJ, 27–30 October.
  2. We from the apostrophe'd community can never celebrate the loss of one of our own. I, for one, will miss the plural possessive in the AOU.
  3. Did you know that the Wilson Ornithological Society maintains a guide to graduate programs in Ornithology? http://www.wilsonsociety.org/pubs/studies.html
  4. Hear, hear! These quantitative skills are not just the purview of theoretical ecology either. Even such basic endeavors as surveys (that now must account for detection probability) and nest success (that now must model daily survivorship) require a level quantitative savvy greater than I picked up 25 years ago. This means that it's not just academics who need these skills. The other revolution has been the rise in generalized linear modeling using AIC. I was 3 credits from a stats minor in grad school, but nothing I did prepared me to analyze data the way editors and referees expect it today. Here's where it gets interesting: I predict that we'd lose about 75% of our undergraduate student body in wildlife ecology and management if we followed these recommendations. Is that a good thing? Despite the authors' statements to the contrary, doing less rote memorization of species taxonomy, anatomy, and identification will result in professionals who can model relationships about things for which they have little knowledge.
  5. Outstanding plenary lecture from Don - informative and entertaining!
  6. Congrats to the winners and a round of applause for the judges!
  7. Even better - great idea Wil. Chris, is Wil's suggestion technologically feasible at this time?
  8. I had a discussion with a "young professional" tonight at the NAOC-V who expressed his disappointment that a workshop he attended didn't really train participants in the nuts and bolts of how to do a particular analysis technique that's very difficult to master on one's own. He throught the instruction followed the same tortuous path of most stats classes - emphasis on theory when what people really need to know is "how do I set up my data to make that graph"? He said that he wished someone at these meetings would just have a room with some computers set up and somebody there to just show you how to make the software work, because that's the major hurdle to him being able to actually use that technique. The other guy - a newly minted PhD - agreed, indicating that most of what he knows how to do has come from the members of his lab working together over months to practice different techniques. If you don't have such a resource at your disposal, how do you really learn how to do such things? So here we go. Why can't we do this at the 2013 meeting? DISTANCE, MARK, occupancy modeling, ecological niche modeling, etc. There are many really useful - in some cases essential - techniques that young professionals must master to be effective, and unless they've had someone really walk them through the process, it can be very difficult to develop proficiency in such things. Why don't we pick one (or two) and find someone who'd be willing to do some real step-by-step instruction in some of these tools? Seems like just the ticket to engage young professionals (both as presenters and attendees) and foster some real loyalty to the WOS for creating a great learning opportunity at our annual meeting. It goes without saying that such demonstrations should involve no additional fee and take place during the meeting.
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