The Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center (BCQWC) and the Quantitative Fisheries Center (QFC) at Michigan State University (MSU) partnered to organize and sponsor a special topic symposium at the recent Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in Grand Rapids, MI. Bryan Stevens (BCQWC), Dr. Renee Riley (QFC), and Dr. David Williams (BCQWC) organized the symposium, which drew more than 100 attendees. One of the ways we accomplish the mission of the BCQWC is by bringing together experts in quantitative methods within a forum that promotes the use and application of those methods for conservation. The Midwest FW Conference was an especially appropriate venue as it brought together many current and future conservation leaders: regional agency personnel, faculty, and students.
A highlight of the symposium was our keynote speaker, Dr. Ken Newman from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Dr. Newman is a world-renowned expert in the development and use of state-space models for fish and wildlife management applications. Special thanks to the Quantitative Fisheries Center and the Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center for funding Dr. Newman’s participation in this symposium.
State-space models represent a synthetic framework for statistical applications in fisheries and wildlife that link dynamic models of ecological systems with observation models for describing sampling processes. Such models are a special class of hierarchical model where data are time-series observations, and partially observed population states are dependent through time in a Markovian fashion. As such, state-space frameworks facilitate a more formal merging of hypotheses and models from theoretical and empirical ecology, as well as direct fitting of dynamic ecological models to real data from fish and wildlife populations. Despite the conceptual advantages of these tools they have not received widespread adoption into graduate curriculum and professional training courses, and thus many researchers and students are not familiar with the framework and its potential use in applied research. Our objectives were to: 1) provide a general introduction to state-space models and their applications for fish and wildlife scientists, 2) describe case studies using state-space methods to model fish and wildlife populations, and 3) summarize existing barriers and likely future directions for learning and implementing state-space approaches in applied fisheries and wildlife research. This symposium began with a formal keynote talk to introduce the topic and conceptual framework, followed by multiple example applications using state-space methods to model fish and wildlife population dynamics, and concluded with a panel discussion of future directions and barriers to implementation of state-space methods in applied fisheries and wildlife research.
Special thanks to our invited speakers:
Download symposium schedule/abstracts