Opportunity: Apply to participate in a Living Data Project working group

The Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution, as part of its NSERC-CREATE Living Data Project, is now accepting applications for graduate students who wish to participate in the following virtual working group August 30-September 3, 2021. The theme of the working group is: ” Finding indicator species by assessing the utility of sampled abundance indices“.

Students will gain valuable experience in synthesis science, have the opportunity to co-author publications, and may be eligible for two course credits. Students must be currently registered in a graduate program in ecology, environmental science, evolution or a related discipline in a Canadian university. Students should either be enrolled in a CIEE or BIOS2 member university, or they or their supervisor must be a current CSEE member.  The highest priority will go to students who have already taken the LivingData project courses “Synthesis statistics for ecology and evolution” and “Scientific collaboration in ecology and evolution”. Together with these two courses, participation in this working group will fulfil most of the requirements for a CIEE Certificate in Synthetic and Collaborative Science.

Finding indicator species by assessing the utility of sampled abundance indices

Facilitators: Robin Freeman (Zoological Society of London), Jessica Currie (WWF-Canada) & Valentina Marconi (Zoological Society of London)

The Living Planet Index (LPI) is a global biodiversity indicator calculated as the geometric mean of annual changes in vertebrate species abundance. The LPI database currently holds over 27,000 time-series for 4,700 species, but not all areas are well-represented. ZSL and WWF-Canada have created a comprehensive dataset for Canadian vertebrates used to calculate the Canadian Species Index, one of the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators, as well as the Canadian LPI. Using Canada as a case-study, we propose to investigate whether a stratified or random sampled approach to selecting species could produce reliable, robust and representative abundance trends for a given region or habitat. We aim to answer the following questions: a) What is the minimum size of a randomly selected sample of species resulting in a trend that is consistent with the overall trend?; b) Can a more consistent trend or smaller sample size be achieved by stratifying this sample by province/territory, taxonomic group, or by choosing species by some criteria (identifying ‘indicator’ species)? This may allow us to predict which species can act as indicators for poorer monitored areas, and help improve representativeness of existing indicators and assess more effectively whether we are on track to meet environmental targets.

Ideally, candidates will be proficient in data analysis in R with some experience of working with large ecological datasets, working in a collaborative environment, and communicating their analysis and results. Our workshop will focus on trying to understand how species traits may predict the accuracy of overall abundance trend estimates. Some understanding of time-series analysis or using trait databases may therefore be useful. Candidates with caring responsibilities are welcome and encouraged to apply and we will accommodate their needs.

Apply here [https://ubc.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8uLuN1fOij2KiJ8] by June 16th, 2021.

Source: CIEE /ICEE, Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution / Institut canadien d’écologie et d’évolution