Hierarchical Modeling Workshop: November 26-30 2012

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Hierarchical Modeling Workshop: November 26-30 2012

Postby Marc Kery » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:16 am

Workshop: Hierarchical models for abundance, distribution and species richness in spatially structured populations using unmarked/R and WinBUGS
Instructors: Marc Kéry, Richard Chandler, Andy Royle;
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center & Swiss Ornithological Institute
Date: 26–30 November 2012 (4.5 days)
Venue: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, Maryland
Computers: Bring your own laptop with latest R/unmarked and WinBUGS/OpenBUGS/JAGS
Course fee: USD$700 (normal rate), USD$300 (student rate), 2 wild cards available.

The analysis of abundance, distribution, species richness, and of the dynamic rates governing their change, lies at the core of ecology and its applications such as conservation and wildlife management. Metapopulation designs, where repeated measurements of some quantity such as detection/nondetection or counts are made at a collection of sites, underlie a vast number of studies in ecology and management. Inference about such data is conveniently based on hierarchical models, where one submodel describes the underlying true state of the process (e.g., presence or absence at a site) and another submodel describes the observation process that connects the true state to the observations.

In recent years, much progress has been made in the development of methods and computer algorithms to fit hierarchical models. In particular, Bayesian statistical analysis and the general-purpose Bayesian software package WinBUGS have opened up entirely new possibilities for ecologists to conduct complex population analyses. On the other hand, the new R package unmarked contains a wealth of functions to analyse hierarchical models in a frequentist mode of inference.

This course introduces key hierarchical models used in the analysis of distribution, abundance and species richness, as well as their spatial and temporal patterns, and provides both Bayesian and the frequentist methods for their analysis. We use package unmarked in R as well as WinBUGS and JAGS to fit and understand some of the most widely used models for the analysis of animal and plant populations. These include:
- site-occupancy models (MacKenzie et al. 2002, 2003) for the analysis of species distributions,
- CAR modeling of spatial autocorrelation in distribution or abundance
- binomial (Royle 2004) and multinomial N-mixture models (e.g., removal, double-observer) for the analysis of distribution and abundance,
- hierarchical distance sampling models (e.g., Royle et al. 2004, Conn et al. 2012),
- dynamic models of distribution (MacKenzie et al. 2003) and abundance (Royle & Dorazio 2008; Dail & Madsen 2011)
- multi-species site-occupancy models for inference about communities, e.g., species richness (Dorazio & Royle 2005; Dorazio et al. 2006), and dynamic multi-species site-occupancy models for inference about community dynamics (Dorazio et al. 2010)

This is an intermediate-level workshop with about 80% spent lecturing and 20% on solving exercises. A working knowledge of modern regression methods (GLMs, mixed models) and preferentially of program R or another programming language is required. No previous experience with program WinBUGS is assumed; however, it is beneficial.

Please bring your own laptops and install a recent version of R, with the latest version of package unmarked, plus WinBUGS 1.4., with the upgrade patch and the immortality key decoded (in this order). Alternatively, OpenBUGS and JAGS work for most of what we do.

Send your application to Andy Royle (hmecology@gmail.com), describing your background and knowledge in statistical modeling, R and WinBUGS/OpenBUGS/JAGS, by 31 October 2012 at the latest.

(*** IMPORTANT: If you send an email specifically to Andy Royle at this email address, it will not be read.)
Marc Kery
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: Hierarchical Modeling Workshop: November 26-30 2012

Postby cooch » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:58 pm

Here is a (public) plea to hold these things outside of the teaching term. I realize that 'you government types' don't have to concern yourself with mundane issues like 'being in class', but a lot of folks who might be interested in attending (faculty, students) absolutely cannot during the middle of a teaching term (Sept -> mid-December, Feb -> mid-May). I received a note to this effect from someone this morning, and since their comment echoed my own feelings, I thought I'd put it here.

Of course, holding it in the the middle of a term is one way to keep us University-based riff-raff at arms length. ;-)
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