Plenary Speakers and Invited Sessions

Web links for talks:

To view both the speaker and the slides, please use the arrow symbol in the video box to take you to the hosting service webpages.

Monday - Jennifer Hoeting

Tuesday - Stephen Ellner

Wednesday - William Link

Thursday -Kerrie Mengersen

Friday - Steve Buckland

Friday - Invited Session, Distance Sampling

You can find the PDF of Steve's poster here.

Plenary Speakers:


Steve Buckland

Steve Buckland has been Professor of Statistics at St Andrews since 1993. He established the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling in 1999.  In 2005, he founded the UK's National Centre for Statistical Ecology (NCSE), together with Byron Morgan and Steve Brooks.  The ongoing distance sampling project which he established has resulted in software 'Distance' with over 30,000 registered users from around 125 countries. He has served on many working groups and committees, including the working group that set up the UK's Breeding Bird Survey in 1994, and a panel reviewing the UK's biodiversity indicators in 2015-16, set up by the government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Jointly with NCSE colleagues, he established the biennial ISEC conferences in 2008. He is currently the Editor in Chief for the statistics journal JABES.

Proposed talk title: Monitoring biodiversity: opportunities and pitfalls


Stephen Ellner

Dr. Stephen Ellner is the Horace White Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. A mathematician by training, Stephen’s research interests cross the boundaries of statistics, mathematics, and theoretical biology. Receiving his doctorate in Applied Mathematics from Cornell in 1982, Stephen held positions in Mathematics at the University of Tennessee and in Statistics at North Carolina State before taking up his current position at Cornell in 2000. Among other work, Stephen and his collaborators pioneered the development of integral projection models, the continuous analogue of discrete matrix projection models, and their application to studying population and community dynamics. He has authored or co-authored more than 180 refereed articles, including six articles published in Nature and Science, he has written a text on the application of dynamic models in the biological sciences, and he has supervised more than 25 graduate students over his thirty-five-year career.

Proposed talk title: Trait-based demography: linking individuals, populations, and communities in varying environments


Jennifer Hoeting

Professor, Colorado State University Department of Statistics; Dr. Hoeting received her PhD in Statistics from the University of Washington and has been on the faculty at Colorado State University since 1994. She specializes in Bayesian statistics, model selection and uncertainty, and spatial statistics. Much of her research is focused on developing new statistical methods to address problems in ecology. She is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and received the Distinguished Achievement Medal from ASA’s Section on Statistics and the Environment. In 2015 she was named Professor Laureate of the College of Natural Sciences at Colorado State University. Hoeting is the founding editor of the journal Advances in Statistical Climatology, Meteorology and Oceanography (ASCMO). Dr. Hoeting has been advisor to more than 30 PhD and MS students. She co-authored the book Computational Statistics with Geof H. Givens, Ph.D., now in its second edition. It has been adopted as a text book in over 25 countries including top universities in the US.

Proposed talk title: Combining mathematical and statistical models: a disease ecology perspective


William Link

William Link is a mathematical statistician in the Biometrics Group at USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.  He received his Ph.D from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1986. After a year on the faculty of Towson University, Link was hired as Mathematical Statistician at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) in Laurel, Maryland, where he has collaborated on analyses of count surveys, demographic analyses, mark-recapture, contaminant studies and many other aspects of wildlife statistics. In the mid-1990s, he dabbled with Bayesian methods, and became hooked.  With Richard Barker, he co-authored the book Bayesian inference: with ecological applications, published by Academic Press.

Proposed talk title: Model selection and evaluation for hierarchical models.


Kerrie Mengersen

Kerrie Mengersen received her PhD in Mathematical Statistics in 1989 from the University of New England, New South Wales. Her PhD thesis was on the topic of ranking and selection under the supervision of Professor Eve Bofinger, one of the pioneer female university researchers in regional Australia. In 2016, Queensland University of Technology awarded the title of Distinguished Professor to Professor Kerrie Mengersen in recognition of her outstanding achievements, both nationally and internationally, in mathematics and statistical research. Distinguished Professor Mengersen is acknowledged to be one of the leading researchers in her discipline. Her research focuses on using and developing new statistical and computational methods that can help to solve complex problems in the real world. These problems are in the fields of environment, genetics, health and medicine, and industry. 

Proposed talk title: Why don't we ask: can citizen science improve ecology and conservation?















Invited Sessions:


Movement Modelling

Chair: Roland Langrock
Modelling animal movement is a fast-growing area of research, with great potential for better understanding of animal behaviour, habitat use and habitat connectivity, as well as for improved inference about survey detection probability and species distribution modelling. There are a variety approaches to movement modelling. This session is designed to review some of these and look at areas of likely future development.


New Kinds of Survey Data

Chairs: Nick Isaac and Stephen Marsland
Increasing use of automated detection devices and platforms (drones, acoustic detectors, video, camera traps,...) as well as increased availability of data from citizen scientists via online participation and mobile device apps, are generating new kinds of data. These datasets are often larger than data from designed surveys with human detectors, involve less equivocal object, species and individual identification than from trained trained human detectors, and often involve more opportunistic data gathering. There is a growing role for Computer Scientists in analysing such data, and potential for machine learning methods to automate aspects of data analysis. The aim of this session is to raise awareness of the statistical issues that arise with these new kinds of data, to raise awareness of the potential role of machine learning and related methods, an to promote discussion of these issues.

Distance Sampling

Chairs: Rachel Fewster and David Borchers
This session will review the development of Distance Sampling over the past few decades, highlighting current developments, and considering future directions. The session will also pay tribute to the contributions of one of the founders of ISEC and one of the most influential figures in Distance Sampling, Steve Buckland, who will be retiring from full-time academic work shortly after ISEC.