Project and Master Theses for Bob O'Hara
Most of my work is with ecological data
- Modelling traits as point processes: Some ecologists are interested in how the distributions of traits change (e.g. do birds become bigger at higher altitudes). If the traits are continuous then we can model them as a point process in trait space (>2D), and use point process machinery to look at how the distributions vary. With good enough data, we can even look to see if species exclude each other, using models for repulsion between points to see if this happens. This project will develop and test these ideas.
- Efficient updating of biodiversity time series: Ecologists at the CEH in the UK have been using occupancy models to estimate trends in species' distributions. These use MCMC (see the Sparta package), so are computationally expensive to run. They would like to avoid running the models from scratch each year, so this project would develop methods based on importance sampling to update the models with each new year of data.
- Integrating Species Distribution Data: Recently ecologists have been developing methods to integrate different types of data into single models of the distributions of species. We need to test these methods on real data, to see how they perform in practice. We have several data sets available to try this on.