Distance Sampling Workshops, St Andrews August 2015

Mary Woodcock Kroble
Wednesday 10 December 2014

The Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) is hosting two linked workshops in the summer of 2015 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 (4 days) 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. We will also deal with automated survey design and the use of covariates in modelling detectability.

The advanced distance sampling workshop (4 days) will include advanced treatment of: analyses in which detectability on the transect line is not assumed to be perfect (the so-called g(0) problem) and spatial modelling. We will also use a number of bespoke R packages for simple and advanced distance sampling applications. We will introduce an R package for simulating survey designs and analysing Distance data. This will be of general interest to those designing surveys or those interested in assessing properties of distance sampling under different assumptions. We will also use software for analysing mixed species groups as well as animals whose distribution is not uniform at all distances from transects (e.g. vantage point surveys looking out to sea). Finally we will discuss R software that permits estimation of abundance adjusted for availability bias (see recent paper Borchers, D.L., Zucchini, W., Heide-Jorgenssen, M.P., Canadas, A. and Langrock, R. 2013. Using hidden Markov models to deal with availability bias on line transect surveys. Biometrics 69: 703-713.).

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.

For both 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 computer classroom (attached to the seminar  room); participants can use our computers or bring their own laptop computers.

Introduction to Distance Sampling, 11th – 14th August 2015.

Advanced Techniques and Recent Developments in Distance Sampling, 17th – 20th August 2015.


For further information, please contact:
Rhona Rodger, Workshop Administrator
Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling
University of St Andrews
The Observatory, Buchanan Gardens
St. Andrews
Scotland KY16 9LZ
Tel:+44 (0) 1334 461842
Fax: +44 (0) 1334 461800
Email: [email protected]

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