Population Models for Wildlife Conservation and Management

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Population Models for Wildlife Conservation and Management

Postby jhines » Tue Feb 22, 2022 10:08 am

Dates: 2 - 6 May, 2022
Room 706, The Sir Duncan Rice Library
(Bedford Road, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3AA


Jean-Dominique Lebreton, CEFE/CNRS, Montpellier
Jim Hines, U. S. Geological Survey, Eastern Ecological Science Center (EESC)
Chris Sutherland, University of St. Andrews
Xavier Lambin, University of Aberdeen
Madan Oli, University of Aberdeen & University of Florida

Application deadline: 15th April, 2022 (or until available seats are filled).

Inquiries: Xavier Lambin (x.lambin@abdn.ac.uk); Madan Oli (madan.oli@abdn.ac.uk)

Studies of population dynamics aim to understand, explain and predict the dynamics and persistence of biological populations. What factors influence demographic parameters, population structures abundance? How would environmental variation and global climate change influence population dynamics and persistence? Which demographic parameters should be targeted for ensuring persistence of an endangered or a declining population? How can we use lessons from management actions or experiments to make informed management decisions? Addressing these questions often requires application of population models that map demographic processes and variations therein through time and space. Matrix population models have emerged as the preferred population modelling framework to help address the aforementioned questions and to guide conservation and management strategies.

This workshop will review simple models of population dynamics (exponential and logistic growth models, life table analysis), but the primary focus will be on the construction and analysis of age- and stage-structured matrix population models. Matrix population models describe population processes on a discrete time scale for discrete states of individuals (e.g., age classes, size, location, or life history stages). We will discuss deterministic models and their generalization to include environmental stochasticity, demographic stochasticity, uncertainty, density-dependence, and spatial structure. We will also explore the practical application of matrix models using parameter estimates obtained from field data. We will emphasize a “bottom-up” approach that views models as tools to answer questions and modeling as an “art of simplification”. The focus will be on the use of models to explore the conservation and management of both plant and animal populations.

The format of the workshop will be a combination of lectures (with ample examples), hands-on exercises, and analysis of participant’s data. Computer lab exercises will use program R, a free open-source program that provides the user with near limitless flexibility, and at the same time, the ability to use more constrained but easy to use ‘packages’ in the R environment.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own data to explore during the workshop. Participants should also have a general interest in quantitative methods and will gain the most if familiar with basic concepts in population ecology, calculus, and algebra. The workshop is intended to be both an introduction to matrix population models and a gateway to advanced applications.

Participants will have to bring their own laptops.
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