Public Lecture: Counting on Conservation

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On the evening of Monday 2nd July, we are holding a 1-hour lecture, which is free and open to members of the public.


We are delighted to welcome Dr. Alison Johnston and Dr. Stacy DeRuiter to talk about their research, highlighting how statistics plays an important part in conservation efforts.  Please join us for an evening of engaging tales from on land and at sea, with our speakers talking about the threats faced by migrating birds and the effects of underwater sound on whale and dolphin behaviour. 


All ISEC delegates and their family and friends are welcome to attend.  This talk will not only introduce people to the role of statistics in conservation, but will also show effective science communication in action – so something for everyone!


The lecture will be held in the Booth lecture theatre in the School of Medicine (a 2-min walk away from the main conference venue) and will start at 18:15, straight after conference talks end for the day. 


Talk summaries:

Ali Johnston:

From seeing birds to saving birds: we trace the journey of a single data point from its origin when a member of the public sees a bird, through the computer of the statistician, and into the hands of conservationists. We explore the importance of statistics to turn data into knowledge. We show an example where conservation decisions are based on analytical outputs, produced from data collected by citizen scientists. Conservation of the world around us relies on a team effort involving birdwatchers, scientists, conservationists, farmers, land-owners, and many others. We follow the path of the data as it passes through the hands of all these people and contributes to saving birds.

Stacy De Ruiter:

Whales and dolphins use sound to navigate the oceans, from finding food and sensing landmarks to communicating with each other.  Most of their lives unfold underwater where people can’t easily follow, but technology and tracking devices now allow us to collect unprecedented amounts of data on animals’ movements and the underwater soundscape. Can these masses of data help us understand how our activities at sea – particularly powerful underwater sounds like military sonars – might affect animal behaviour? We will explore how a statistician’s mind-set and models prove crucial to answering this deceptively simple question.