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Life-history trade-offs in elephant seals at age of first reproduction
Some exciting work has been published by alumus Chris Oosthuizen, Res Altwegg and colleagues.
New paper out by SEEC members and colleagues
Dorine Jansen, Res Altwegg and colleagues looked at the effects of weather on population dynamics of the Sociable Weaver with the use of integrated population models.
MSc opportunity!
Interested in applying for an MSc using citizen science to understand the distribution of introduced species? The DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology is hosting a MSc project which will assess the value of iNaturalist data for...
SEEC & Sea Search MSc Candidate, Jack Fearey, working with Greenpeace
This month, Jack Fearey, an MSc candidate within the Centre for Statistics in Ecology, Environment and Conservation and Sea Search group, will be joining Greenpeace on their vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, to go to the Vema Seamount. The Vema Seamount...
TOOLBOX SEMINAR
Please join us for the next Toolbox Seminar on the 31st October. Natasha Karenyi will be speaking about model-based analysis of multivariate abundance data.
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Welcome to SEEC


The Centre for Statistics in Ecology, the Environment and Conservation is an inter-departmental grouping based at University of Cape Town. Our goals are:

  • to be the leading group in statistical ecology and environmental analytics within South Africa
  • to provide a hub connecting statisticians and biological / environmental scientists to ensure that the most important environmental questions are addressed with cutting edge statistical methods
  • to develop methods that link data analysis and modelling into the conservation planning and management process

Scientific knowledge progresses by confronting hypotheses with data. The statistical sciences develop quantitative tools for evaluating hypotheses in the light of data and therefore assume a critical role within science. This is especially true for the biological and environmental sciences, which study complex systems with large amounts of multi-layered data and are faced with decision making problems that directly affect human livelihoods and well-being. Recent developments in statistical methods are revolutionising the way ecological and environmental research is conducted. These developments led to the fields of statistical ecology and environmetrics.

The goal of these fields is to address core questions in ecology and environmental sciences using novel statistical approaches, which account for uncertainty more comprehensively and extract signals from noisy data more reliably. This is leading to a far deeper understanding of natural systems, which is the foundation for the sustainable use and management of pressures on biodiversity in the face of global change.


Background


South Africa is one of the 17 top mega-diversity countries, which together hold two-thirds of the planet's biodiversity. The value of South Africa's biodiversity for the country's economy is well recognised: ecotourism is a large, growing and sustainable area of employment; a large proportion of the rural population depends on the sustainable use of biodiversity; the sustainability of the entire economy is predicated on the ecosystem services provided by a well-functioning environment.

A quantitative understanding of environmental processes that is based on the best available statistical methods used in structured decision-making situations is therefore critical for the country. Tasks such as attributing observed environmental changes to various drivers and conducting cutting-edge environmental research will depend increasingly on the development and availability of a new generation of statistical tools, and people with the skills to apply them. Management of human activities in ecosystems needs evidence-based decision making tools, set in a multicriteria decision-making framework.

The Centre is hosted by the Department of Statistical Sciences and general enquiries can be made to seecuct@gmail.com.