Two days Workshop on Introduction to quantitative methods to survey and study mammal populations and communities of Southeast Asia

The workshop was organized held as parallel session in the South Asian Conference 2017 on 28 and 29 of August. The workshop was led by Dr. Michael Cove. Dr. Cove is a quantitative ecologist that uses traditional methods as well as current noninvasive  survey  techniques  and  statistical  modeling  procedures  to  study  rare  and endangered mammal populations and communities both locally and internationally.

The workshop was overall divided into three sections:

  • On the first section, participants were introduced to study design principles and applications of different sampling techniques including the use of live-traps, camera traps, acoustic and ultrasound detectors, and radio telemetry (with field demonstrations).
  • On the second section, the participants were taught robust analytical approaches, starting with occupancy modeling and distance sampling, followed by instructor-guided exercises.
  • On the third section, the participants learnt how to analyze capture-recapture data, perform instructor-led exercises, and visit with the instructor about specific questions pertinent to their research and/or data that they have already collected.

The training-workshop was attended by 25 wildlife researchers from six different countries. The workshop was made dynamic so that all participants gained the experience and analytical skills to  analyze  and  interpret  their  own  data. The data sets, relevant publications, some slides, pertinent links, and other important information were shared prior to the conference.  Dr. Cove informed about the different models, model extensions, quality of inferences, fitting complex models, covariates and data requirements. The theoretical course was accompanied with practices on relevant field data in the PRESENCE, MARK and R. Along  with  the  datasets  provided,  the  participants  also  worked  on  their  own  datasets  and discussed  on  the  errors  and  outcomes.  This was followed by introduction to capture-recapture, distance sampling and N-mixture models. The trainee was provided with additional research articles on the topic of course and datasets of the research papers were analyzed.

The workshop ended with overall review on the topics taught during the two day course. Ms. Sabita Gurung from SMCRF thanked Dr. Cove for his tireless teaching inspite of tight schedule of the conference and intense nature of the course. Ms. Gurung also thanked all the participants for their enthusiastic presence and making the workshop a great success. The workshop closed with a group photograph.

Software Links

PRESENCE- https://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/software/presence.html
MARK- http://www.phidot.org/software/mark/downloads/
R package „unmarked‟ and „secr‟ – https://www.r-project.org
Rstudio- https://www.rstudio.com/products/rstudio/download/

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