Duke to Offer New Short Course on Spatial Models for Distance-Sampling Data

July 27, 2015

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084, tdlucas@duke.edu

DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke Environmental Leadership (DEL) Program will offer an intensive four-day course, “Spatial Models for Distance Sampling Data,” on Oct. 27-30 at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

The newly developed course is designed to train scientists, resource managers and students how to use advanced spatial modelling methods and software to analyze distance-sampling data collected via line transect surveys.

Using these advanced tools is increasingly a fundamental skill required in many environmental management and research jobs in academia, industry and government, particularly in the fields of conservation biology, applied ecology and wildlife management.

Course instruction will cover both theory and practice, and will include step-by-step demonstrations of workflows for spatial modelling of distance sampling data collected via line transect surveys, using the density surface modelling approach of Hedley and Buckland (2004), updated with methods from Miller et al (2013). This widely preferred approach allows researchers to create the most accurate detection-adjusted spatial models. Modelling will take place in R using packages developed by the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling and NOAA.

Course participants will also learn how to use ArcGIS and the Marine Geospatial Ecology Tools (MGET) package (Roberts et al. 2010), developed at the Duke Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab to map and explore geospatial data; reformat data for analysis; obtain and sample environmental predictors (e.g. from remote sensing imagery); and move data between GIS and R.

David L Miller and Eric Rexstad, research fellows at the University of St. Andrews’ Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling and the School of Mathematics and Statistics, and Jason J Roberts, research associate at the Duke Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, will lead the course.

Cost for the course is $1,400. Full-time university students and Duke University alumni qualify for a discounted rate of $1,200. Professionals with work duties that include education, outreach, or K-12 audiences may apply for the CATES Award to help offset tuition costs. 

Registration deadline is October 12.

For more detailed information or to register, go to DEL Program website.