Three interactive distance sampling training workshops

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Three interactive distance sampling training workshops

Postby scottish » Wed Jul 22, 2020 7:08 am

In August, September and October of 2020, the University of St Andrews continues its remote delivery of interactive distance sampling training workshops. We are offering three workshops addressing:

  • mark-recapture distance sampling
  • spatial modelling of distance sampling data
  • introductory distance sampling

Registration for all workshops is currently open, but closing date for the August workshop is fast approaching (see below).

Description of each workshop, in chronological order, found below along with URLs for registration and additional information.

Mark recapture distance sampling training workshop 24th and 25th August 2020 17:00-19:30 British Summer Time

Registration is now open for our training workshop on mark-recapture distance sampling. Join us by video from anywhere around the world! For full details, and to register, please go to

Workshop Overview

Conventional distance sampling methods assume that all animals at zero distance are detected with certainty. However, in some situations this assumption is violated, and some animals are missed, causing a negative bias in the density and abundance estimates. This occurs on some shipboard surveys of marine mammals, for example, where animals may be missed on the trackline because they are underwater while the survey vessel passes, or because the sea conditions are rough so that even some animals right on the line are missed. The former (being underwater and so not available for detection) is often called availability bias and the latter perception bias. This methodology is particularly suited for investigations of cetaceans and other marine mammals.

In this two-day workshop, we cover survey protocols and analytical methods for dealing with both perception bias and availability bias. The workshop is intended for those already familiar with the basics of distance sampling.

Instructors: Len Thomas and David Borchers


24th and 25th August 2020

17:00-19:30 British Summer Time // 12:00-14:30 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) // 09:00-11:30 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

Enrolment limit

15 participants; registration deadline 31 July

Format and delivery method

The workshop will be a mix of live online interactive sessions, delivered via videoconference software (Microsoft Teams), and computer exercises. There will be two sessions on successive days, with a total class time of 4 hours (including breaks) and an additional computer exercise to complete after the first day and before the second. Exercises can be undertaken using Distance for Windows or R (via the mrds package).

Spatially explicit models for distance sampling data: density surface modelling in practice 5-9 October 2020

5-9 October 2020, 1700-1900 BST // 1200-1400 EDT // 0900-1100 PDT

This course will cover how to fit spatial models to distance sampling data ("density surface modelling") in R. This will include:

  • Brief overview of distance sampling
  • Generalized additive models
  • Fitting, checking and selecting density surface models
  • Predicting abundance
  • Making maps
  • Examples will be based around a line transect survey of sperm whales in the western Atlantic.

For full details and to register, visit

Instructor: David Miller


The course will consist of 5 live sessions delivered over videoconference. Between these sessions there will be practical R exercises to complete and to assist with these practicals there will be text-based "office hours", where participants questions can be addressed. Each videoconference session will include time for lecturing and discussion of practical exercises.

Enrolment limit:

15 participants; registration deadline 05 September


You should already know about distance sampling, for example by having taken an introductory workshop in person or online (either interactively or via our free pre-recorded lectures). You should also have some basic R knowledge. Prior to the course we will running a software test meeting to ensure everyone can participate satisfactorily.

Please contact David Miller ( with questions regarding the spatial modelling workshop.

Introductory distance sampling 07-18 September or 21 September - 02 October 2020

Fundamental principles of distance sampling, from the perspective of survey design, field protocol for data gathering and analysis of distance sampling data.

For full details, and to register, please go to

Instructor: Eric Rexstad

The 21 Sept-02 Oct offering of the workshop is being delivered in the morning UK time (0900-1130) such that participants from east Asia, Australia and New Zealand as well as Europeans can take part, while the 07-18 September workshop will be delivered early evening UK time (1700-1930) for attendees in Europe and the Americas to participate.


Ten sessions spread across two working weeks. Combination of lectures and practical exercises along with interactive polls.

Enrolment limit: 15 participants for each of the two workshops

Registration closing dates: 14 August (for first workshop), 21 August (for second workshop)

Please contact Eric Rexstad ( with questions regarding the introductory workshop.

Eric Rexstad
Centre for Ecological and Environmental Modelling
University of St Andrews
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:09 am

Re: Three interactive distance sampling training workshops

Postby scottish » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:29 am

Two of the three workshops previously advertised are now full. But the September introductory distance sampling training workshops are not yet full.

Register to attend either of these workshops:

07-18 September
  • delivered 1700-1900 British Summer Time (for participants in Europe and the Americas)
  • registration deadline 14 August
21 September - 02 October
  • delivered 0900-1100 British Summer Time (for participants in Europe, Australia, New Zealand)
  • registration deadline 21 August

Complete details describing the two-step registration process can be found at

Any questions, please ask.
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:09 am

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