Thursday, 5 December 2013

Congratulations to David-'Postdoc Supervisor of the Year’ within the Science Faculty

Congratulations to David who was recognized as the ‘Supervisor of the Year’ within the Science Faculty as nominated by the Science Postdocs tonight. A fantastic effort!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Congratulations Francis - J B Douglas Award and IBS student prize winner

A big congrats to Francis Hui, winner of this year's J.B.Douglas Award for best post-graduate talk by a statistics student in New South Wales.  Apparently the standard was very high this year and Francis wow'd them with his new group penalties for mixture models, motivated by the problem of multi-species distribution modelling - predicting where a species is as best we can, borrowing strength across species.  Well done, Francis!

UPDATE (9th December): another gong for Francis: runner-up prize at Biometrics at the Canals, the biennial International Biometrics Society (Australasian Region) conference.  Nicely done Francis!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

An interview with Noel Cressie

An interview with Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie of the University of Wollongong, a big name in spatial statistics, advocate of hierarchical modeling in ecology, and author of a key reference text in spatial statistics, and more recently "Statistics for Spatio-temporal data" with Chris Wikle; we discuss all of these topics.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Dr Renner it is

Ian Renner has been officially awarded his PhD for a thesis titled "Advances in Presence-Only Methods in Ecology".  Congratulations Ian!  Now to publish some of those chapters..

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Slides from Eco-Stats Symposium now on-line

Interview with Trevor Hastie

An interview with Trevor Hastie, The John A. Overdeck Professor of Mathematical Sciences
at Stanford, for Methods in Ecology and Evolution.  We discuss a recent response he wrote to a 2012 MEE paper by Andy Royle et al.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

TIES conference in Anchorage, Alaska

Congratulations to Francis Hui who battled 22 hours of sunlight a day, got within meters of a wild moose, saw a cool ice glacier and earned an honorable mention in the student category for his presentation: "Variable selection in multi-species mixture modeling" at the 23rd annual International Environmetrics Society conference in Anchorage, Alaska, USA, 2013. Well done!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Eco-Stats now on Twitter, and Facebook

Eco-Stats is now on twitter, @ecostats
and on Facebook,

God help us all.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Rumble in the Jungle - SAMs vs separate species SDMs

Our manuscript, To mix or not to mix: comparing the predictive performance of mixture models versus separate species distribution models, has just been accepted by Ecology. A preprint is now available at

In it, we compare the predictive performance of separate species SDMs and Species Archetype Models (SAMs) on several multi-species datasets. SAMs is a recently developed statistical tool that clusters species based on their environmental response into archetypal response groups. To see who wins the bout, SAMs or separate species SDMs, view the paper!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Eco-Stats Symposium program now available

The final program for the Eco-Stats Symposium has now been released.  I'm delighted with the line-up, it looks like a pretty exciting group of speakers!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Fine wine and arcsine asinine

Congratulations to David Warton and Francis Hui for winning the UNSW Evolution & Ecology Research Centre's Citation Classic Award. Their paper, Warton, D. I., and Hui, F.K.C. (2011) The arcsine is asinine: the analysis of proportions in ecology. Ecology 92: 3-10. DOI:10.1890/10-0340.1, received 44 web of knowledge citations in 2012. Many statisticians will agree that that is an impressive statistic.
The two were awarded with a fine bottle of wine, which presumably has already been consumed.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Big news about MAXENT

Ian Renner and I just published a paper in Biometrics show in the MAXENT is mathematically equivalent to a GLM (and hence related to poisson point process models).  See the Methods Blog for a more detailed post on this result and its implications.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Welcome Sara Taskinen

Welcome to Sara Taskinen of the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland (pictured below - she's the one in the middle!).  Sara will be visiting us here at UNSW for all of 2013.  She is an expert in robust statistics especially with multivariate applications, so we've been doing some work robustifying methods of estimation and inference about allometric lines, i.e. modifying how MA and SMA lines are estimated so that they are less sensitive to outliers.  Some of our earlier work has already been incorporated into the SMATR package, and a paper on some of our earlier ideas on how to construct robust confidence intervals for slope was recently published in the Biometrical Journal.  We've since been robustifying methods of hypothesis testing about one or several allometric lines - paper and code coming soon!

Eco-Stats symposium in Sydney Australia, July 11-12 2013