A few days ago (8-11 May 2017), Murray Efford (University of Otago), Joanne Potts (Analytical Edge) and I ran a teaching workshop on Spatial Capture-Recapture (SECR) methods. The workshop was hosted at the Arthur Rylah Institute in Melbourne. We had a great attendance, with participants coming from all around the country and beyond. They ranged from data analysts wanting to expand their methods portfolio, to field ecologists eager to figure out how to best design surveys for their monitoring projects… so there was no shortage of interesting (and often challenging!) questions 🙂
For those not familiar with the technique, spatially-explicit capture-recapture (SECR) is used for estimating animal population density and related parameters. This modelling method combines a spatial population model and a spatial (distance-dependent) detection model. SECR has been used extensively in wildlife ecology for the analysis of data from conventional traps, DNA hair snags and automatic cameras. In the workshop, we covered the theory behind the models, and focused on the use of the R package ‘secr’, which fits SECR models via maximum-likelihood methods (info here). We also had a look at how to approach the models from the Bayesian viewpoint.