CoursesFreemantle - Australia

Course Freemantle Australia

From 24 to 28 January 2011 Alnilam and the University of St Andrews gave a course in Freemantle, Western Australia, on estimation of abundance for cetacean populations through the methods of line transect and spatial modelling. Sowtwares Distance and R were used, and additionally practical field work exercises were carried out.  

The course was organized by the Cetacean Research Unit of Murdoch University, W Australia, and given by Ana Cañadas (Alnilam) and Phil Hammond (University of St Andrews).

Download here the program of the workshop 



            Participants at the course                                        Participants at the course



               Distance sampling practice                                          Freemantle


Course flyer:


Murdoch-Flinders University Workshop 

Spatial modelling of cetacean habitat use and abundance 

Two workshops are planned to build expertise in the Australian marine mammal research community in the use of spatial modelling techniques that allows habitat use to be quantified and abundance to be estimated from line transect data. These statistical methods can be complex and sophisticated. Researchers unfamiliar with the methods face a steep learning curve and this can limit the potential impacts of research projects. The workshop will give Australian marine mammal researchers the practical hands-on skills to apply some of the more accessible models, providing insight and familiarity but stressing the limitations of currently available methods. 

Time and Location: 

Perth, Western Australia: January 24th-28th, 2010 

Venue: Freemantle 

Port Lincoln, South Australia: January 31st – February 4, 2010 

Venue: Lincoln Marine Science Centre, Hindmarsh Street, South Australia, 5606 


There are no fees for attendance at the workshops. Lunch , tea and coffee will be provided. 


Applications close one week prior to commencement. Please send a one page CV and letter stating your interest in the course. 

Admission requirements 

This course is designed for postgraduate students conducting studies in the broad fields of biological or environmental sciences as well as professionals at relevant research/management organisations interested in spatial modelling of habitat use and abundance of marine mammals. Participants will be thus expected to have successfully completed a Bachelor of Science in the relevant disciplines. Participants will be selected by relevance to their research and priority will be given to those who are directly involved in marine mammal research and conservation in Australia. 

All participants will be required to download the Distance ( and R ( software to their laptops before the workshop. Computers will not be provided. International participants must hold a valid visa for their stay in Australia over the duration of the short course and meet the University's English Language requirements. 

Course Presenters 

Dr Ana Cañadas (ALNILAM Research and Conservation, Spain) is an experienced practitioner of all aspects of spatial modelling of cetacean data: collection, processing and organisation, analysis and using the results to inform conservation. She has organised and contributed to workshops on estimating abundance and spatial modelling. She is a regular invitee to workshops on cetacean habitat issues. 

Professor Philip Hammond (Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St Andrews, UK) is an experienced teacher of quantitative ecology including courses on quantitative methods in biology, ecology, marine mammal biology and conservation research methods. He contributes to and helps organise workshops on estimating abundance (using line transect and mark recapture) and spatial modelling. 

Course Outline 

The workshops will cover issues in, and methods for, studying marine mammal habitat use and abundance using spatial modelling of survey data. The workshops will comprise lectures (including presentation of case studies), demonstrations, practical work on data processing and analysis, and discussions. The focus will be on practical hands-on application, and on understanding the problems that arise when conducting and analysing data from real studies, but the importance of understanding the statistical background will be emphasized. 

Accommodation options for participants: 


Port Lincoln: 

Port Lincoln Tourist Park ( located right next to the Lincoln Marine Science Centre where the workshop will take place. 

Port Lincoln Cabin Park ( Approximately 20 minute walk to Lincoln Marine Science Centre. 

Hilton Motel ( Approximately 25 minute walk to Lincoln Marine Science Centre. 

Contact Information 

Western Australia Workshop: 

 Dr. Lars Bejder 

Murdoch University 

Cetacean Research Unit 

Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Port Lincoln 


South Australia Workshop 

Dr. Guido J. Parra 

Flinders University, 

Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab, School of Biological Sciences. 

 +61 8 8683-2576 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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