Statistical Methods Seminar Series

This virtual seminar series will be used to demonstrate a variety of quantitative methods applied within Ecology and Environmental Science in the R programming language. Attendees will gain valuable insight into methods that they may or may not be familiar with from experts on a given topic.

Target audience: Quantitative environmental scientists and ecologists either in-training (graduate students and postdocs) or working professionals in academia, government agencies, or non-governmental organizations. Attendees are expected to be proficient in R.

Webinar structure: Each seminar will be 1 hour in length and be led by a different invited speaker with expertise on a given topic or statistical method. Speakers will spend the first 20 min of the webinar presenting a project where they used the method, followed by 40 minutes where they will share R code for how they answered their question. The presenter’s shared R code is expected to be made available online. Presenters will walk through the code, taking time to describe common pitfalls or stumbling blocks for performing the method and visualizing results.

Dates/Times: We will have monthly webinars on the first Monday of each month typically at noon US Eastern unless. Registration for each call is below.

November Seminar

Mixed Models

 “Mixed models” refers to a broad class of statistical models that extend linear and generalized linear models to handle data where observations are measured within discrete groups such as field sites; years or other temporal blocks; individuals that are observed multiple times; genotypes; species; etc. They can be thought of (equivalently)
as (1) accounting for the correlation among observations from the same group; (2) estimating the variability among groups, or (3) parsimoniously estimating the effects of groups. They are most useful when the experimental or observational design includes a large number of groups with varying numbers of observations per group.

This presentation will be most useful to ecologists who already have some familiarity with linear and generalized linear models.

November 1, 2021 at noon US EST / 4pm UTC. Register to join the call HERE.

Ben Bolker is the Director of the School for Computational Science and Engineering and Acting Associate Chair for Mathematics at McMaster University. His interests include spatial, theoretical, mathematical, computational and statistical ecology, evolution and epidemiology, plant community, ecosystem, and epidemic dynamics. He has two books, including Ecological Models and Data in R, and is the co-author of a Very Short Introduction to Infectious Disease with Marta Wayne. Dr. Bolker maintains a popular GLMM FAQ, and keeps miscellaneous mixed models resources here.

December Seminar

Species Archetype Models and/or Regions of Common Profile Models

December 6, 2021 at 9am US EST / 2pm UTC. Register to join the call HERE.

Skip Woolley is a research fellow at the University of Melbourne working on Integrated Environmental Assessment Modelling and he is a visiting
scientist at CSIRO. His research focuses on the development, implementation and interpretation of statistical modelling for integrated environmental risk assessment. Dr. Woolley’s research also focuses on understanding how biodiversity interacts with economic, social and environmental drivers of human activities and pressures, to better protect and reduce the risk of biodiversity loss into the future.

January Seminar

Generalized Additive Models (GAMs)

January 3, 2022 at noon US EST / 5pm UTC. Register to join the call HERE.

Gavin Simpson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University. Dr. Simpson’s research uses approaches to modelling large regional to global spatio-temporal data sets using generalized additive models (GAMs) and functional statistical methods to examine broad ecosystem responses to environmental change. He is an active member of the R and Data Science communities and was a lead developer on the vegan package for multivariate data analysis and wrote the permute package for restricted permutation tests that allow multi-species data analyses from complex experimental designs. Dr. Simpson is currently developing a package, gratia, to work with GAMs fitted in R.

February Seminar

Movement Ecology

February 7, 2022 at noon US ET / 5 pm UTC. Register to join the call HERE.

Théo Michelot is a postdoctoral researcher in statistics at the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) at the University of St. Andrews. Dr. Michelot is developing flexible stochastic differential equation models, and using them as continuous-time models of animal movement and behaviour. Additional research interests include hidden Markov models and applications in ecology and statistical software development.

March Seminar

Integrated Step-Selection Analysis

March 7, 2022 at noon US ET / 5pm UTC. Register to join the call HERE.

Tal Avgar is an Assistant Professor of Movement Ecology in the Department of Wildland Resource and Ecology Center at Utah State University. Dr. Avgar’s research focuses on the ecological and evolutionary causes and consequences of animal movement behaviour. The premise behind Dr. Avgar’s research is that quantitative understanding of the processes underlying animal movement behaviours is essential, not only as means to identifying ecological needs and interactions at the individual level, but as a mechanistic key to emerging population and community patterns.

Brian Smith is a PhD student, co-advised by Tal Avgar and Dan MacNulty, studying the space-use ecology of northern Yellowstone elk and the feedbacks between space-use and demography. Brian is particularly interested in how density-dependent habitat selection interacts with predation risk and how animals balance this tradeoff between “many mouths to feed” and “safety in numbers”. His goal is to find insights from individual behavior that scale up to population- and community-level patterns.

April Seminar

Multi-Species (Species Interactions) Occupancy Modeling

April 4, 2022 at noon US ET / 4 pm UTC. Register to join the call HERE.

Christopher Rota is an Assistant Professor of Wildlife & Fisheries Resources at West Virginia University. Dr. Rota’s research addresses diverse questions in applied vertebrate ecology working with birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. He is interested in understanding factors that shape the spatial distribution of species, and the dynamic interplay between space use and demography. A common link throughout his research is the application and development of modern statistical techniques that capture many of the myriad processes giving rise to ecological data sets.

May Seminar

Hidden Markov Models in Ecology

May 2, 2022 at noon US ET / 4pm UTC. Register to join the call HERE.

Vianey Leos Barajas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistical Sciences and the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto and leads the Bayesian Ecological and Environmental Statistics (B.E.E.S.) research group. B.E.E.S. is dedicated to the development of statistical methodology to answer pressing ecological and environmental questions. Dr. Leos Barajas’ work focuses on the analysis of sensor data collected from animals and the environment over time and space but also includes collaborations in health and other areas.