Distance sampling when animals are missed at zero distance

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Distance sampling when animals are missed at zero distance

Postby lenthomas » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:00 pm

Training workshop on distance sampling when animals are missed at zero distance

Registration is now open for our latest online interactive training workshop. Join us by video from anywhere around the world! For full details, and to register, please go to

http://workshops.distancesampling.org/m ... -2021.html

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.

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.


Len Thomas and David Borchers
Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling
University of St Andrews


11th and 12th January 2021
17:00-19:30 Grenwich Mean Time (GMT/UCT) // 12:00-14:30 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) // 09:00-11:30 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

Enrolment limit

15 participants

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 in total, on successive days, with a total class time of 5 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).

Other workshops

We plan to offer a selection of introductory and more advanced/specialised workshops in 2021, via video conference. For more information, see https://workshops.distancesampling.org/
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