Congratulations to one of our students, Etienne Pienaar, on the award of his PhD entitled "Diffusion Processes and Applications". Below is an abstract of Etienne's thesis:
Diffusion models are useful tools for quantifying the dynamics of continuously evolving processes. Using diffusion models it is possible to formulate compact descriptions for the dynamics of real-world processes in terms of stochastic differential equations. Despite the flexibility of these models, they can often be extremely difficult to work with. This is especially true for non-linear and/or time-inhomogeneous diffusion models where even basic statistical properties of the process can be elusive. As such, we explore various techniques for analysing non-linear diffusion models in contexts ranging from conducting inference under discrete observation and solving first passage time problems, to the analysis of jump diffusion processes and highly non-linear diffusion processes. We apply the methodology to a number of real-world ecological and financial problems of interest and demonstrate how non-linear diffusion models can be used to better understand such phenomena. In conjunction with the methodology, we develop a series of software packages that can be used to accurately and efficiently analyse various classes of non-linear diffusion models.
Congratulations to SEEC researcher Greg Distiller who has just had his PhD thesis passed by his examiners! Greg's thesis is entitled “A Continuous-Time Formulation for Spatial Capture-Recapture models”. The thesis develops a continuous-time framework for spatial capture-recapture surveys, allowing stronger inferences about individual density, distribution and behaviour to be drawn, as well as providing a new density estimator for surveys with single-catch traps.
Oceana study finds fish catches in EU waters could increase by 57% if stocks were managed sustainably
SEEC researcher Henning Winker helped develop the Oceana report that suggests that if exploitation followed scientific advice, sustainable catches in EU waters could reach more than 3-fold increases in stocks like sardine in the Cantabrian Sea or cod and haddock in the North Sea.
The centre for Statistics in Ecology, Environment and Conservation (SEEC: www.seec.uct.ac.za/) at the University of
Cape Town (UCT) has an MSc bursary available to work on modelling range-wide abundance patterns of moss frogs
(Arthroleptella lightfooti) using acoustic monitoring data. We are looking for a student with a background in biology
or environmental science with a strong quantitative (statistical or mathematical) angle or statistics students with a
strong interest in biology or environmental science. For more information please see the project advert.
The most recent South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR) newsletter featured an article written by SEEC researcher Florian Weller on his research modelling African penguin colonies. African penguins have witnessed a precipitous decline in numbers, from 56 000 breeding pairs in 2001 to only 17 000 in 2013. In this newsletter Florian sheds some light on why this has probably happened and what management measures could help to prevent further decline.
The SEEC Stats Toolbox Seminars started with a BANG!!!! What a turn out? Dr Vernon Visser had a full house as he introduced Species Distribution Models to 92 enthusiastic students and researchers. They represented tertiary institutions, government departments, NGO’s and consulting companies. Prof Res Altwegg, Director of SEEC, welcomed the group and encouraged them to build up their basic stats skills in preparation for the exciting statistical methods that are being developed for ecologists and environmental scientists. We look forward to seeing you at the next SEEC Stats Toolbox Seminar on 25 August 2016, where Res Altwegg will be introducing Occupancy Models. Follow SEEC on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or join our mailing list if you want to be kept in the loop.
Seattle, better known for coffee and Frasier, was recently the host for the International Statistical Ecology Conference (ISEC) 2016. Five SEEC members, including Res Altwegg, Allan Clark, Greg Distiller, Sanet Hugo and Theoni Photopoulou, made the long trek to the west coast of the USA. We are very proud to have such a large contingent of SEECers having talks accepted at such a conference. Res has kindly provided some photos of their trip, and Allan has written a brief report on their trip, which you can see below.
Kudzu vine, a major invader in the USA, is in South Africa, but there is still time to eradicate it here.
SEEC is hosting a monthly seminar series entitled SEEC Stats Toolbox. Every month we will introduce you to a stats method relevant to the fields of ecology, environmental science and conservation as a way of making these methods more accessible.
The seminars are aimed at postgraduate students and researchers who are interested in broadening their stats knowledge.
Please join us for our inaugural seminar on Species Distribution Models on 28 July 2016. See the attached flyer for more details. We look forward to seeing you there.
A new paper by SEEC members Natasha Karenyi and Res Altwegg provides an improved method for setting habitat-based-conservation targets.
Congratulations to Dorine Jansen on the acceptance of her PhD thesis "Ringing data to study climatic influences on passerines".