A major focus this past month was developing the content for a new course that Darryl MacKenzie (Proteus) and Joanne Potts (The Analytical Edge) have just finished teaching in Perth, Australia, for the first time: Introduction to estimation and modelling of ecological populations. This course is aimed at the beginner- and intermediate-level researcher who is wanting a broad overview of available methods for estimating and modelling ecological populations, with an emphasis on abundance-based measures. Some of the topics covered in the course are multivariate abundance, distance sampling, closed and open population capture-recapture modelling, spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) and occupancy modelling. The course involves a mix of theory and practice, with exercises conducted in R. Comments from the course participants so far have been very positive and we'll be looking to run the course again, somewhere around the globe, in the near future! Contact us if you want to find out more about the course, or would be interested in attending it.
Surveying has started for Hector's dolphins along the south coast of the South Island, a Ministry for Primary Industries project we are undertaking with Deanna Clement from The Cawthron Institute. Before it could start, we had to confirm the overall study design, and the specific location of the line transects that would be flown by the observation crew when they collect the mark-recapture distance sampling data. Unfortunately, the survey work has been interrupted by ex-tropical cyclone Gita although it should restart soon once the conditions are suitable.
That's about it for this month. If you need some help with the statistical aspects of a project, drop us a line to discuss your needs.