News articles for Centre for Statistics in Ecology appear here
The SAEON Fynbos and Ndlovu Nodes have developed a collaboration with researchers at SEEC and Rhodes University, and provincial conservation agencies to develop rapid and repeatable tools for monitoring and mitigating global change impacts on natural resources using open science and reproducible research principles. We seek suitably qualified and enthusiastic candidates to appoint to posts for one PhD and two MSc students in the following projects:
1. Developing repeatable methods for classification of alien and native vegetation in montane grasslands
2. Detection and mapping of invasive alien plants in the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS)
3. Near-real time change detection in the Thicket Biome
For more details, download this PDF.
Congratulations to Greg Duckworth and Alecia Nickless who both graduated with their PhDs this December. We are very proud of you!
Greg did his PhD on the effects of protected areas and climate change on the occupancy dynamics of common bird species in South Africa, and Alecia's project was on modelling CO2 fluxes.
We seek several students to join our NRF ACCESS funded “Seasonality in the Cape” project exploring the impacts of changes in rainfall seasonality on vegetation and birds in the global biodiversity hotspot of the Greater Cape Floristic Region (GCFR). Changes in seasonality of rainfall might have profound impacts for this highly diverse and endemic vegetation in the only winter-rainfall dominated region of sub-Saharan Africa.
Our project will combine large-scale outdoor experiments with remote-sensing and citizen science data across the GCFR to tackle this issue. Opportunity exists for the development of key skills in: field experimental approaches, collecting and analysing physiological, demographic and community data, ecological remote sensing and data analysis.
For more information, click on the image below:
We seek several students, a postdoc and a research technician to join our NRF ACCESS funded “Seasonality in the Cape” project exploring the impacts of changes in rainfall seasonality on vegetation and birds in the global biodiversity hotspot of the Greater Cape Floristic Region (GCFR). Changes in seasonality of rainfall might have profound impacts for this highly diverse and endemic vegetation in the only winter-rainfall dominated region of sub-Saharan Africa.
Our project will combine large-scale outdoor experiments with remote-sensing and citizen science data across the GCFR to tackle this issue. Opportunity exists for the development of key skills in: field experimental approaches, collecting and analysing physiological, demographic and community data, ecological remote sensing and data analysis. All student positions start 1 July 2018 and the post-doc and technician position 1 June 2018.
See the attached advert for more details.
Congratulations to Danielle Boyd who graduated with a M.Sc. in Statistical Ecology this month. We are proud of you Danielle!
The title of Danielle's thesis is "Fishery, population dynamics and stock assessment of geelbek (Atractoscion aequidens), a commercially important migrant fish species off the coast of South Africa"
You can read the abstract of her thesis in the full news piece...
In January SEEC hosted David Warton a Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow from the University of South Wales.
David champions the movement away from traditional methods of exploratory multivariate analyses to more predictive and testable model-based analyses in an effort to maintain the integrity of the data during analyses. To this end he has developed the mvabund R package.
While at UCT, David offered a model-based multivariate statistics course attended by 35 ecologists and statisticians from all over South Africa. This course challenged our thinking about popular multivariate methods and introduced new methodologies which will hopefully become more common in ecology. We have learned a lot and hope for many more future interactions with David and his students. Watch David’s recent Stats Department seminar HERE.
Congratulations to Jasper and his team, who won one of the 3 thematic awards at the Data for Climate Action (D4CA) challenge award ceremony at COP23!
D4CA is a competition under the UN Global Pulse programme. Teams were asked to "use big data and data science to catalyse action on climate change". There were 97 teams involved so to be among the winning ones is a great achievement.
The team's submission developed a tool for detecting vegetation changes in near real-time. You can read more about the approach here.
The submission was led by Jasper, Adam Wilson and Glenn Moncrieff, with contributions from a number of other SEEC people - Zaza, Etienne, and Vernon. Well done to everyone!
In January 2018 SEEC will be hosting David Warton who will be holding a 5-day course on modern multivariate techniques, with a special focus on the analysis of abundance or presence/absence data.
To find out more about the course and to register, click here.
Check out a new SEEC-authored paper recently published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
As the Earth's climate changes, extreme climatic events such as heat waves and floods are becoming ever more common. However, these events are still relatively rare and infrequently observed. This often leads to the situation where researchers have data for only one extreme event, but they are convinced that this event has had a large effect on the organism or system on which they are working.
One might think that observing a single event is not amenable to analysis. However, Res Altwegg, Birgit Erni, Vernon Visser (all from SEEC) and Liam Bailey (Australian National University) show that this is not always the case and that observing one extreme event is not the same as having only one data point. In this paper they provide guidance for how, and under which conditions, one can analyse single extreme climatic events.
Jasper Slingsby, a SEEC honorary research associate and SAEON biodiversity scientist, has just published a paper on how climate change is leading to biodiversity decline in the Fynbos.
In the longest running permanent vegetation plot study in the Fynbos, Jasper and his co-authors found that an increasing frequency of consecutive dry and hot days is leading to lower plant diversity as a result of higher plant mortality in the first year after fires. They also found that there is a legacy effect of plant invasions, even after these are cleared, as plots that had previously been invaded exhibited a decline in plant diversity over time.
You can read his paper here.