MSI Friends and Alumni : Is it there: analysing occupancy surveys

Date & time

5.30–7.30pm 20 September 2012


Manning Clark Building


Professor Alan Welsh


Alan will discuss some general methods which deal with nondetection and then consider a currently popular method called occupancy modelling in more detail. He will show how we use statistical thinking to understand occupancy modelling and evaluate its properties.

It is obviously important to understand when a method will or will not work well and to understand its limitations.

We will see that occupancy models are more difficult to fit and interpret than is generally appreciated because the estimating equations often have multiple solutions and the estimates are unstable when the data are sparse. When the abundance of a species varies from site to site the standard analysis runs into difficulties and in this case, occupancy modelling can be just as poor as analyses which ignore nondetection completely. This raises broader philosophical questions about the use of incorrect models and the value of trying to make complicated adjustments in difficult problems.

This presentation will be followed by drinks, hors-d’oevres and a chance to meet and chat with the speaker and other members of the MSI. No special expertise is needed to enjoy the wine or the presentation!

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