Workshops & Training Opportunities

Introduction to analyzing count data in R with ‘unmarked’

This workshop is currently FULL.

Monday, 10 August (12:00pm-4:30pm Eastern)

Capacity: 50

Fee: $5

Organizers: Evan Adams (Biodiversity Research Institute), Beth Ross (USGS)

Understanding how to think about and analyze count data is a core skill for ornithologists and ecologists. Bird surveys are a common producer of count data and these data are used to conduct species status assessments, build population models, track population trends, and understand spatial variation in density, among many other applications. In this workshop we will teach attendees how to visualize and analyze count data that are generated from surveys. Our main focus for analytical techniques will be N-mixture models (and other similar hierarchical modeling techniques like removal modeling and distance sampling) that use additional information gathered during the survey to correct for biases in data collection. We describe how to generate your own count data, what kinds of distributions are appropriate for analyzing these data, then use ‘unmarked’ in R to give examples of how to appropriately fit models to these data. This course will focus on a firm understanding of the linear modeling process that underlies these complicated models, model fit and appropriateness, and how to visualize model results effectively and appropriately. Multiple examples will be used during the course and all course materials will be available on GitHub for access before and after the workshop. The target audience of this workshop are ecologists that are familiar with R and data analysis but inexperienced with using R to effectively analyze count data and want learn new statistical techniques.

The target audience of this workshop are ecologists that are familiar with R and data analysis but inexperienced with using R to effectively analyze count data and want learn new statistical techniques. All course materials will be available on GitHub for access before and after the workshop.

Working with data collected by citizen scientists – challenges and opportunities for ornithologists

This workshop is currently FULL.

Monday, 10 August (12:00pm-2:00pm Eastern)

Capacity: 25

Fee: $5

Organizer: Judit Szabo (Universidade Federal da Bahia)

Participants will get an overview of commonly used bird survey methods. Through lectures, discussions and hands-on examples they will become familiar with spatial, temporal and observer-associated biases and ways to address these biases during the three phases: data collection, data analysis and data interpretation.

Overview of topics or syllabus: bird surveys methods, the pros and cons of different methods, what does it mean if we have structured or unstructured surveys? what is realistic to expect from volunteers and what do they need from a scientist? the effects of sample size, types of biases, how to recognize and handle biases during data collection, data analysis and data interpretation including novel methods.

eBird Status and Trends

Monday, 10 August (2:30pm-4:30pm Eastern)

Capacity: 100

Fee: $5

Organizer: Tom Auer

The citizen science project eBird has generated a database of over 500 million bird observations, with broad spatial and taxonomic coverage. Over the past 10 years, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has developed machine-learning models using eBird and remote-sensing data to produce high resolution, weekly estimates of range boundaries, occurrence rate, and relative abundance while accounting for many of the biases inherent in citizen science datasets, including variation in observer behavior and effort. Visualizations and modeled data products for 500 North American breeding birds, including resident and non-breeding grounds in South America, are currently available on the eBird website.

This workshop will introduce attendees to the modeled data products (weekly estimates of range boundaries, occurrence rate, and relative abundance) and the ‘ebirdst’ R package developed specifically for working with these data. This will include an introduction to the modeling process used to generate the eBird Status and Trends data products. It will also include a demonstration how to access and manipulate these data products for specific combinations of species, seasons, and regions using the ebirdst package. After the workshop, attendees will have an understanding of how and when to use these data products for applied research and conservation efforts, including within-year dynamics. Some experience with R will be helpful in following along with the demonstration. Please note, this workshop will not cover the analysis of trends or trend data.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Ornithology – Mini Discussions

Date & Time: TBD

Amelia-Juliette Demery (Cornell University)
Jennifer Houtz (Cornell University)
Shailee Shah (Columbia University)

Promoting diversity and inclusion is one of the focal points of the NAOC mission to foster a healthy and sustainable ornithological community in the modern age. The NAOC welcomes diversity “for its power to develop new ideas, and to foster a productive environment through the introduction of different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences”. One of the key effectors of encouraging diversity is generating a dialogue between members from different walks of life on common challenges to promoting diversity and inclusion in the professional setting. Participants can share unique perspectives and learn from the experiences of others. While inclusion in ornithology – and across all scientific fields – is an important issue shared by many, some may not be able to find a safe space at their professional institution to discuss how to promote a culture of inclusivity and other related topics. A workshop to facilitate discussions is an excellent space for dialogue about diversity and inclusion between NAOC members. It garners a sense of community, encouraging people of all demographics – under-represented or majority – to interact with and, ultimately, learn from their peers in a space where everyone is on an equal footing.

The objective of this workshop is to provide a safe space for discussing diversity and inclusion in one’s workplace, addressing challenges we face as a community in promoting diversity and inclusion (e.g. mentorship, hiring, the sense of “belonging”, “tokenism”) and generating ideas to solve those challenges. The workshop will start with a brief presentation of its mission, structure, and examples of challenges that participants may encounter when navigating a diverse professional community. The workshop will be devoted to mini (5-person with a moderator) round-table discussions to discuss scenarios that embody the changing landscape of a more diverse workplace and workshop ways in which to navigate these changes effectively and positively for the entire professional community. At the end we will bring the groups together to share any takeaways. We believe that in order to effectively promote a diverse community we need to encourage a dialogue about diversity-related issues with members of all demographics. In light of that mission, the NAOC Student Affairs Committee is collaborating with the NAOC Diversity and Inclusion Committee to present different avenues of communication between NAOC attendees at multiple professional stages. Our workshop’s format will facilitate a safe space for participants, primarily targeting students, to discuss personal challenges of promoting and navigating a diverse workplace..