Modelling spatially explicit change in environmental impact assessment using the R package MRSea


6th-8th August 2014

The Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) will be running a 2.5 day workshop to introduce participants  to modelling spatially explicit change in environmental impact assessment in  our purpose-built facilities at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. The course will comprise both taught and  practical sessions, with time for discussion on the morning of the third day.

In line with results based on a large scale study  undertaken by CREEM (commissioned by Marine Scotland) we introduce the  recommended modelling approach for baseline characterisation and EIA analyses.  Specifically, we outline the CReSS spatially adaptive smoothing method using  SALSA for model selection (Mackenzie et  al., 2013, Scott-Hayward et al.,  2013a, Walker et al., 2011). This workshop will introduce these methods to  the participants and describe how they can be used for EIA analysis using the  MRSea package in R.

The content of the course is below:


  • Basic features of baseline characterisation and  EIA data
  • Survey methods
  • Correcting for imperfect detection: Distance  sampling analyses
  • Modelling spatially explicit change:
    • Exploratory  data analysis
    • Model  fitting using CReSS and SALSA
    • Diagnostic  tools
    • Prediction  and inference and the identification of compelling spatially explicit change

We will illustrate the taught and practical material based  on simulated data based on existing (large off-shore) marine renewables  developments. This data is found within  the R package we will use throughout – the MRSea package.

The workshop will begin at 09:00 on Wednesday 6th  August, with registration at CREEM from 08:45 and will finish at lunchtime on Friday 8th.

Useful References

  • Mackenzie, M.L, Scott-Hayward,L.A.S., Oedekoven,  C.S., Skov, H., Humphreys, E., and Rexstad E. (2013). Statistical Modelling of  Seabird and Cetacean data: Guidance Document. University of St. Andrews contract for Marine Scotland; SB9 (CR/2012/05).
  • Scott-Hayward, L.A.S., Oedekoven, C.S., Mackenzie, M.L., Walker, C.G. and  Rexstad E. (2013b). User Guide for the MRSea  Package: Statistical Modelling of bird and cetacean  distributions in o shore renewables development areas. University of St. Andrews contract for Marine Scotland; SB9 (CR/2012/05).
  • Scott-Hayward, L., Mackenzie, M. L., Donovan, C.  R., Walker, C. G., and Ashe, E. (2013a). Complex Region Spatial Smoother  (CReSS). Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics.
  • Walker, C., Mackenzie, M., Donovan, C., and  O’Sullivan, M. (2011). SALSA – a Spatially Adaptive Local Smoothing  Algorithm. Journal of Statistical  Computation and Simulation 81, 179-191.

Registration Fee

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

The Early-bird fee of 400.00 GBP for the workshop is available until 7th July 2014, after 7th July the fee will increase to 450.00 GBP.

Fees cover tuition, all course materials, tea/coffee  breaks and lunches.

Location and Travel

Information is available here.


Accommodation information is available here.


For  information please contact Rhona Rodger at:

Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling
University of St Andrews
The Observatory, Buchanan Gardens
St. Andrews
Scotland KY16 9LZ
Tel:+44 1334 461842
Fax: +44 1334 461800