Capture-recapture workshop in Montpellier – 17-21 March 2014

ImageWe’ll be running our annual workshop in March 2014 in Montpellier. It’ll be about capture-recapture models seen under the hidden Markov modelling prism (aka multievent models) and their implementation in the E-SURGE software. The usual team is involved, plus Dave Koons as our guest star.

Check out the website !!


ISEC 2014 abstract submission now open!

logo_isec_rvb_100dpiDear all,

Authors are now invited to submit an abstract for their presentation or poster for the fourth biennial International Statistical Ecology Conference (ISEC2014), to be held 1-4 July 2014 in Montpellier France, at:

This conference will convene experts from around the world to present and discuss issues of interest to ecological statisticians and biologists.
We will hold sessions focused upon mark-recapture methods, distance sampling methods, other abundance estimation techniques, monitoring of biodiversity, survey design and analysis for estimating population trends, modelling of spatial trends in animal density, integrated population modelling, stochastic population dynamics modelling, stochastic multispecies modelling, individual-based model fitting, and stochastic modelling of animal movement.

We have a tremendous group of plenary speakers:
Marti Anderson (New Zealand). Some solutions to the Behrens-Fisher problem for multivariate ecological data.
Mark Beaumont (UK). Statistical inference for complicated models in ecology and evolutionary biology.
Ben Bolker (Canada). Statistical machismo vs common sense: when are new methods worthwhile?
Nicholas Gotelli (USA). The Well-Tempered Assemblage: Reducing Bias in the Estimation of Species Rank Abundance Distributions.
Jean-Dominique Lebreton (France). The interplay of relevance and generalization in Biostatistics.
Perry de Valpine (USA). Bayesians, frequentists, and pragmatists: the interaction of methods and software
Chris Wikle (USA). Ecological Prediction with High-Frequency ‘Big Data’ Covariates.
Simon Wood (UK). Statistical methods for non-linear ecological dynamic models.

There will also be pre-conference workshops within the area of ecological statistics taking place 28 June to 1 July.

Please place the dates of this conference into your diaries (1-4 July 2012) and visit the conference website for updates.

Best regards,
The ISEC2014 Local Organizing Committee

4-month internship (M1): To breed or not to breed – A dilemma in the Dalmatian Pelican’s life

SupervisionOlivier Gimenez & Alain Crivelli

Description: Life history theory predicts that individuals balance costs and benefits associated with trade-offs between current and future reproduction. If breeding early does not reduce future reproduction, then individuals reproducing early in life should have a better fitness than individuals delaying their reproduction. This delayed reproduction is often associated with long life or limited ressources.

Here, we will study the costs of reproduction as a function of age at first reproduction in the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) as well as other potential drivers such as density and food availability. The study site is Amvrakikos in Greece. More than 900 chicks have been marked, and almost 800 nesting individuals have been detected. For almost 300 of these individuals, we were able to determine breeding success over life. Over 25 years of study, more than 4000 observations have been recorded.



Cubaynes, Doherty, Schreiber & Gimenez (2011). To breed or not to breed: seabirds response to extreme climatic events. Biology Letters 7: 303-306.

Desprez, Pradel, Cam, Monnat & Gimenez (2011). Now you see him, now you don’t: Experience, not age, is related to reproduction in Kittiwakes. Proc. of the Royal Soc. B 278: 3060-3066

Doxa, Theodorou, Hatzilacou, Crivelli & Robert (2010). Joint effects of inverse density-dependence and extreme environmental variation on the viability of a social bird species. EcoScience 17: 203-2015.

Gimenez & cie (2013). How can quantitative ecology be attractive to young scientists? Balancing computer/desk work with fieldwork. Animal Conservation 16:134-136.

PhD position in Biodemography

Below is a PhD position in which our team will be largely involved. Feel free to apply!

PhD Position in Biodemography at Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé ‐ CNRS, France
We are looking for one PhD student – funded by CNRS through the European Research Council (ERC) program EARLYLIFE (PI H. Weimerskirch) – to contribute to our research program investigating the foraging behaviour and demography of the early life of long lived marine mammals and seabirds.

A major goal in biodiversity conservation is to predict responses of populations to environmental change. To achieve this goal, quantitative information on juvenile and immature stages is essential because their mortality controls recruitment to reproductive stages and the future of populations, but also because it is young individuals that disperse most and have the potential to emigrate and colonise new environments. In this research program (EARLYLIFE) we investigate how young individuals respond to environmental changes in terms of foraging skills, foraging ecology and demography and how this affects the population dynamics. For this, we employ biodemographic analysis of long‐term data from natural populations of long‐lived marine top predators (seabirds ands seals) and extensive tracking data on juveniles and adults.

Towards these goals, a PhD position will take the lead on the analysis of juvenile survival and recruitment processes and on the effects of juvenile individual characteristics (body size, body condition, foraging skills, habitat use) and environmental factors on these demographic rates. Telemetry data will allow making inferences on the spatio‐temporal mortality of juveniles and on the variables of the physical environment affecting juvenile mortality. In the light of these results a retrospective analysis of our long term demographic database will allow to test the effects of environmental conditions encountered during early life on juvenile survival and recruitment processes and to estimate the genetic component of foraging tactics.

The student will work with advanced statistical models to investigate juvenile survival and recruitment processes (e.g., multistate, multievent and known‐fate capture recapture models, integrated population models, state‐space models), with long‐term capture recapture time series (from 20 to 40 years) of seabirds (albatrosses and petrels), and with tracking data (newly developed loggers using the GPS and Argos technology). Possibility to contribute to fieldwork on albatrosses and petrels, although not compulsory.

• MSc degree (or equivalent) in population ecology, biostatistics, evolutionary biology, or a relevant field.
• Solid knowledge of and demonstrated interest in population ecology and population dynamics in changing environments.
• Strong quantitative skills, proficiency in statistical analysis and demographic modelling in R or Matlab, and good experience in capture recapture modelling.

The PhD will be based at Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé (CNRS, Chizé, France) under the supervision of Christophe Barbraud and Henri Weimerskirch with ample collaboration with biostatisticians from Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CNRS, Montpellier, France) and with ecologists at CNRS Chizé. Net Salary will be c. 1500€.

Please send the following material in a single PDF file to Christophe Barbraud, Henri Weimerskirch and Olivier Gimenez. Screening of applicants will start October 2nd, 2013 and continue until the position is filled.
• Cover letter indicating your motivation and expectations from this PhD
• Detailed CV
• One page summary of your MSc degree
• Contact information for two references

Frequently asked questions on E-SURGE

We have just released a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) on E-SURGE, a software application that is developed by Rémi Choquet in our team. E-SURGE allows the estimation of demographic parameters based on capture-recapture data. It relies on the multievent modeling framework developed by Roger Pradel to deal with uncertainty in the assignment of states to individuals. We will do our best to keep a list of applications updated. Do not hesitate to get back to us if you have any comments on the FAQ.