Distance Sampling Workshops, St Andrews 2019

Mary Woodcock Kroble
Thursday 25 October 2018

In August 2019, the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) is hosting a series of linked training workshops on distance sampling survey methods and analysis. The venue will be the purpose-built teaching facilities at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. The workshops are taught by leading researchers in the field and are a mix of lectures and practical sessions. For the first time, the focus will be on implementing the methods using the statistical programming language R (R Core Team 2018) rather than using Distance for Windows (Thomas et al. 2010). Recent developments in R packages for distance sampling has made functionality in R comparable with Distance for Windows. Using R for distance sampling analysis gives greater flexibility in data preparation, analysis and plotting.

To provide participants with the relevant R experience, the first workshop is a two-day ’Introduction to R (for Distance Sampling)’. For those wishing to learn about the basics of distance sampling, there is a free online course available (https://workshops.distancesampling.org/online-course/) but we realise that it can be difficult to devote the necessary time during a normal working day, therefore, we are holding an ‘Introduction to Distance Sampling (using R)’ workshop over 3 days. For those who are thinking of making the transition from Distance for Windows to R and are unfamiliar with R, we recommend taking both the ‘Introduction to R Workshop (for Distance Sampling)’ and the ‘Introduction to Distance Sampling (using R)’ workshops. For those wishing to learn more advanced methods, or indeed what to do when the basic assumptions of conventional distance sampling methods cannot be met, there is the five day ‘Advanced Distance Sampling’ workshop.

There is the option for a small number of participants to join in the Advanced Distance Sampling workshop remotely – see registration information for the requirements.

Lecture materials, data and exercises will be available for participants to download prior to the workshops. The workshops start at 9am and finish at 5pm each day. A light lunch and refreshments are provided.

Registration Information

The number of participants on the workshop will be restricted to 35. Places will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis on receipt of a completed a registration form and payment in full. Registration and payment details are below.

Online participation

For those unable to travel to St Andrews, a limited number of spaces are available to attend the Advanced Distance Sampling Workshop via videoconference link. Online participants will have reduced one-on-one interaction with instructors and consequently, videoconference participants will receive a 10% discount to their registration fees. The videoconference will be conducted in real time: if you are in time zones distant from Scotland, your sleep patterns will need to adjust. Online participation will not be available for the introductory courses.

Before registering as an online participant, please check that your broadband internet connection at the location where you will take the course is both fast and reliable enough to allow audio and video to be transferred in real time. To determine whether this will be feasible, please contact the CREEM IT Officer, email: [email protected] who will send instructions of how to test your system.

The number of places available for the online videoconference link registration is very limited: places will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis on receipt of a completed a registration form, payment in full and a successful test of the internet connection. Please start this process at least four weeks before the start of the workshop to allow sufficient time for testing and the payment to be processed.


Buckland ST, Anderson DR, Burnham KP, Laake JL, Borchers DL and Thomas L (2001) Introduction to Distance Sampling. Oxford University Press. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/introduction-to-distance-sampling-9780198509271.
Buckland ST, Rexstad EA, Marques TA and Oedekoven CS (2015) Distance Sampling: Methods and Applications. Methods in Statistical Ecology. Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-19219-2.
Laake JL, Borchers DL, Thomas L, Miller DL and Bishop JRB (2018) mrds: Mark-Recapture Distance Sampling. R package version 2.2.0. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=mrds
Miller DL (2017) Distance: Distance Sampling Detection Function and Abundance Estimation. R package version 0.9.7. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=Distance
Miller DL, Rexstad E, Thomas L, Marshall L and Laake JL (In press) Distance Sampling in R. Journal of Statistical Software. https://doi.org/10.1101/063891
Miller DL, Burt ML, Rexstad EA and Thomas L (2013) Spatial models for distance sampling data: recent developments and future directions. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 4 (11):1001–1010. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12105.
R Core Team (2018) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL https://www.R-project.org/
Thomas L, Buckland ST, Rexstad EA, Laake JL, Strindberg S, Hedley SL, Bishop JRB, Marques TA & Burnham KP (2010) Distance software: design and analysis of distance sampling surveys for estimating population size. Journal of Applied Ecology 47: 5-14. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01737.x


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
Email: [email protected]

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