2015 Meeting Workshops – Overview

Tuesday, Feb. 24th, 2015

Meeting Registration Page (opens in new window)

Workshop #1 – Occupancy Modeling

Cost: $60 USD
Maximum Enrollment: 25

Title: Assessing Species Probability of Occurrence
It is often of interest to ask questions about the probability of occurrence for a species of wildlife. For example, how does the probability that a pond is occupied by red-legged frogs relate to the occurrence of non-native fish? Such analyses rely on survey data that result from efforts to detect the species of interest and measure site characteristics. These analyses are hampered by false negatives: the failure to detect a species at a site where it is present. Occupancy models can be used to estimate the probability that a site is occupied and other parameters related to changes in occupancy despite false negatives. They use some form of repeat observations to estimate and account for the probability that a single observation will detect a species that is present. Since their initial development in 2002, there have been several important expansions of the occupancy modeling framework including multi-season models that estimate local extinction and colonization rates, two-species models that deal with false negatives in two species simultaneously, multi-state models that allow response categories beyond just presence and absence, and integrated habitat models that deal with sites that may or may not exist in a given year (e.g., ephemeral ponds). We have also come to better understand some of the pitfalls of occupancy models.

This full-day workshop will be run by Michael Adams (Supervisory Research Ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and Tara Chestnut, SCEP Ecologist with U.S. Geological Survey and Ph. D candidate at Oregon State University).

The main goals of this half day workshop will be to:
1) Offer an introduction to the basic occupancy model and the basics of free software called PRESENCE;
2) Overview of the range of occupancy models currently available;
3) Offer handouts to help get you started with occupancy studies and some hands-on time with PRESENCE.

The target audience is beginners who have little or no experience with occupancy analyses but a basic understand of regression analysis.

Please bring your own laptop with the latest version of PRESENCE installed (http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/software). Otherwise you should be able to pair with someone with a laptop. Contact Michael_Adams@usgs.gov with any questions.

Workshop #2 – Training for Media Relations and Communication

Cost: $30 USD
Maximum Enrollment: 25

This half-day  workshop, participants will learn how to create awareness of research beyond the standard scientific journal format. They will also learn how to work with reporters, stay on message and succinctly explain the significance of their research in layman’s terms. Using interactive exercises and open discussions, participants will develop talking points about their research. Finally, you will observe a simulated on-camera interview followed by feedback.

The workshop will be lead by Tiffany Woods. Tiffany runs the news team at OSU’s Extension and Experiment Station Communications Department. She also writes press releases and magazine features, shoots photos and produces videos. Previously she was a financial and general news reporter for Reuters in Chile, a freelancer in Peru for U.S. newspapers, and a magazine editor near Chicago. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication. Kathryn Ronnenberg, will follow Tiffany Woods with a 90 minute presentation “Communicationg in Color” detailed below.

With more and more journals publishing online, more electronic media, and decreasing costs of color printing, scientists and students are increasingly asked to create figures and maps in color for publications and presentations. Good slide design presents additional challenges. However, just throwing a lot of color at a figure isn’t a good method of design. Color can actually obscure the most important features of your graph, map, or figure, if it’s used poorly. So how do we learn to use color well, effectively, and accessibly to communicate the points we’re trying to emphasize? How much color is enough? Which colors should we use – particularly if we want to make sure our graphics can be understood by readers or viewers who may be color blind? (Roughly 8% of men are red-green color-blind, and 0.5% of women.) Can we reinforce meaning in ways that don’t depend solely on color? Are we implying an unintended meaning with the colors we choose? How can we work with, not against, a viewer’s instinctive interpretation of color choices, particularly on maps? These will be some of the topics covered in the workshop, along with a basic vocabulary for understanding color and how it works in print and on-screen. Participants are invited to bring along a figure or map they would like some advice on.

 Workshop #3 – Museum Collections and Specimen Vouchers

Cost: $30 USD
Maximum Enrollment: 25

Title: Presses, Pins and Preservatives — why vouchers specimens matter.
Have you ever collected and submitted a specimen voucher to a museum collection? If not, you should be! The importance of voucher specimen collection by field biologists in invaluable when you consider how many of us rely on vouchers to obtain data on distribution, introduction, adaptation and speciation. But the methods can be confusing and the field of collections is advancing quickly (e.g., eDNA and tissue collection in remote environments).

This workshop will be run by curators, faculty and instructors at OSU and will cover a broad range of taxonomic expertise: Dr. Brian Sidlauskas (OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (FW) Assistant Prof and Curator of OSU’s Ichthyology Collection – https://www.facebook.com/OregonIchthyologyCollection), Jessica Castillo (OSU FW Dept. PhD candidate and instructor of Bird and Mammal Preservation), and Dr. Chris Marshall (Curator of the Oregon State Arthropod Collection – http://osac.science.oregonstate.edu/about).

The main goals of this half-day workshop are to:
1) Overview the need for biological collections and the importance of archival knowledge;
2) Review of the diverse collection protocols for whole specimens, tissue, eDNA, etc. in the field;
3) Have a panel discussion on applications for this type of information and collection experiences in the field.

Workshop #4 – Western Pond Turtle Biology, Conservation and Survey Techniques

Cost: $20 USD (Students), $30 USD (Non-student)
Maximum Enrollment: 40

Title: Biology, Conservation and Survey Techniques of Western Pond Turtles
The Western Pond Turtle (WPT) is a species of high visibility and conservation concern. This workshop will review the life history, habitat requirements and behavior of this native turtle. We will demonstrate types of traps used, established field techniques (e.g., aging) and new methods (e.g., videos of aggressive behavior). Current threats and challenges to the species will be outlined. The workshop will conclude with a group discussion of management issues and conservation measures. This workshop is lecture, discussion and lab experience with no field study because the turtles are not active in February.

This workshop will be co-lead by Gwen Bury (Dept. Integrative Biology, Oregon State University, Ph. D candidate) and R. Bruce Bury (U.S. Geological Survey; Emeritus Scientist).

Learning outcomes for this workshop include:
1) Understand the variety in WPT life history including differences in geography and life stages.
2) Students will become familiar with pros and cons of methods and approaches of population assessment.
3) Accurate assessment of status incorporates both size and age classes.
4) Management needs to include life history traits, local habitat conditions and regional challenges.

Participants will need to have a copy of the recent WPT handbook (Northwest Fauna 7) for use during the workshop. Northwest Fauna can be purchased online and they will be offered for $12 (cash only) at the workshop.