SE@K at NSCE Summer Meeting

Several members of SE@K attended the NSCE summer meeting 26th-28th June in Swansea.

Diana Cole gave a presentation on “Bayesian Identifiability in Ecological Models”

Byron Morgan gave a talk entitled  “Bucking the trend”

Fabian Ketwaroo talked about “Modelling roost count data”

Milly Jones talked about “Bayesian multi-species hierarchical distance sampling: Density estimation of
vertebrate species in Betampona Madagascar”. Her talk was runner-up in the student presentation competition.

Thomas Cheale’s talk was on “A General Framework for Balancing Privacy and Variance in Randomised
Response Methods”

Alex Diana talked about “Modelling DNA-based survey data”

Ioannis Rotous’ talk was on “Bayesian nonparametric models for batch-mark data”

They also enjoyed the sights in Swansea and the Welsh countryside


Spring term 2023 SE@K Thursday lunches

Spring term starts with the second half of Python training by Lena :-). Plan for the term in terms of sessions (and cake) below!

  1.  19th of January     Session : Python training II – Lena; Cake : Lena & Daniel
  2.  26th of January     Session : Daniel’s grant; Cake : Diana
  3.  2nd of February    Session : HMM paper – Diana; Cake : Eleni
  4.  9th of February     Session : HMM paper – Daniel; Cake : Oscar
  5.  16th of February   Session : HMM paper – Takis (guest lecture); Cake : Alex
  6.  23rd of February  Session : Variable selection/Hypothesis testing – Alex; Cake : James
  7.  2nd of March        Session : HMM – Fred (guest lecture); Cake : Fabian
  8.  9th of March         Session : Parameter redundancy – Daniel’s take; Cake : Tommy
  9. 16th of March         Session Swedish register data – Bruno&Eleni ; Cake : Milly
  10. 23th of March         Session : Swedish register data – Bruno&Eleni; Cake : Daniel
  11.  30th of March        Session : Spatio-temporal models – Oscar; Cake : Diana
  12.  6th of April             Session : eDNA data – Alex; Cake :  Eleni

Se@k weekly lunches

The SE@K group are meeting weekly for research lunch and socialising 🙂

Autumn term

First week was about introductions and a tasty lunch at Dolce Vita!

Second week was about staff talking about their research interests, with Diana talking to the group about parameter redundancy.

Third, fourth & fifth week were about research students talking about their research, with Tommy using randomised response techniques to estimate the proportion of people in the group who like/liked their supervisor (!), Milly talking about distance sampling, Ioannis talking about Bayesian non-parametrics and ABC and Lena talking about predator-prey models!

The term went on with learning about Gaussian processes from Alex, about PDEs from Eduard and about Python from Lena!





rGAI: An R package for fitting the generalized abundance index to seasonal count data

Emily Dennis, Calliste Fagard-Jenkin and Byron Morgan have created an R package for fitting the generalized abundance index to seasonal count data. The work has been published in Ecology and Evolution in the paper “rGAI: An R package for fitting the generalized abundance index to seasonal count data”.

The paper can be found at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ece3.9200

The R package is available at: https://github.com/calliste-fagard-jenkin/rGAI



Statistical Ecology Conference

Members of SE@K group attended ISEC from 27th June to 1st July. Some went to South Africa to attend in person others attended virtually.

Eleni, Alex and Ioannis gave a half day workshop on Modelling environmental DNA data.

Eleni presented work on Capture recapture models with heterogeneous temporary.

Alex gave a talk on A unifying modelling framework for metabarcoding data.

Rachel talked on Model selection for integrated population models: selecting age structure with multiple data types.

James’ presentation was on Accounting for varying spatial scales in the production of UK butterfly abundance estimates.

Diana talked about Bayesian Identifiability in Ecological Models.

Fay presented work on Assessing the success of reintroductions whilst accounting for multispecies populations.

Bryon talked about Fitting dynamic occupancy models to very large occurrence data sets using hidden Markov models.


Obituaries for Philip North

Philip North, 21st May, 1949 – 4th June, 2021


It is our sad duty to let you know of the death of Philip North, who died on the 4th June 2021, aged 72.  Philip made a huge contribution to the development of the EURING Analytical Meetings, acting as editor of the first five proceedings.


He obtained his PhD on Statistical methods in ornithology from the University of Kent in 1979.   This involved the development of novel analyses of various BTO datasets, in particular devising a method of cluster analysis to determine bird territories and enhancing various aspects of survival estimation. His influential 1978 paper in Biometrics used a variety of methods, including logistic regression and point process modelling, to investigate the effects of weather on the survival of grey herons. In addition, through his enthusiasm and research highly productive links were established between the Universities of Kent and St Andrews and with the Centre d’Ecologie Fontionnelle & Evolutive, CNRS Montpellier, which, together with the BTO are continued by the current members of the Statistical Ecology at Kent research group.


Philip was an expert ornithologist and a keen birder.  For example, we recall that he was one of a small number of observers who recorded the first sighting of a pallid swift in Britain and Ireland Thus he was well placed to understand both the statistical and ecological aspects of avian ecology. This combination of ornithology and statistical modeling made him an ideal contributor to the EURING Analytical Conferences, as did his role as secretary of the Mathematical Ecology Group of the British Region of the Biometric Society and the British Ecological Society.


Innovative discussions and published proceedings became key features of these EURING meetings. The first two were held in Wageningen in 1986 and at Sempach in 1989 and Philip edited the resulting proceedings single-handed, as well as jointly editing the proceedings of the meetings held in Montpellier (1992), Patuxent (1994) and Norwich (1997; see https://euring.org/meetings/analytical-meetings/analytical-meeting-proceedings ) . This was an important and sustained contribution, which appreciably advanced the theory and application of relevant aspects of statistical ecology, with wide application to both theoretical and applied problems.  It also showed how data gathered by the bird ringing/banding schemes coordinated through EURING could be collected and analyzed in ways that enhanced their ecological value. It is particularly noticeable how the content of the conference papers evolved over Philip’s period as editor. The first meeting focused on the use of individual datasets to estimate specific parameters, mainly survival. By the 1997 meeting there was greater interest in model selection and applied studies, with the first signs of the developments in data integration that would follow over the next 20 years.


Philip’s wife Monica died in 2008. They are survived by their children, Robin, Geoffrey and Melissa to whom we extend our deep condolences.

An obituary  has recently appeared in JRSSA https://rss.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rssa.12767

Byron Morgan and Stephen Baillie