Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha, Tanzania
Sept 3rd – Sept 14th, 2018
Introduction to Computational and Mixed Models in Wildlife and Resource Conservation

Prof. Norman Owen-Smith, Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Dr. Joseph Ogutu, Biostatistics, Hohenheim University, Stuttgart, Germany


The course will provide an induction into how computational models can be formulated and applied to address problems in wildlife and bio-resource conservation and management. Topics covered include the descriptive and structured equations, simulation models, scenario assessment, harvest strategies, population viability analysis, herbivore-vegetation interactions and vegetation dynamics. The approach will emphasise particularly how models can accommodate the consequences of climatic variability and spatial heterogeneity.


This course is a gentle introduction to mixed models. Mixed models are appropriate for a wide variety of problems in biology, ecology, conservation, environmental science and other scientific disciplines. For example, mixed models are appropriate for data sets containing nested data, temporal correlation, spatial correlation, data with many zeros, etc. The course will adopt a tutorial style and use example data sets to explain and illustrate concepts, models and methods. Example analyses will be based on code written in R. Strong emphasis will be placed on understanding when the methods are needed, how to implement the methods (in R) and how to interpret the results. Many worked examples in R will be used to illustrate insights that can be obtained from using these models.


Download Workshop Announcement in Pdf