Occupancy Modelling Course

  • Start Date: April 16, 2013
  • End Date: April 18, 2013
  • City: Revelstoke BC
  • Instructor: Dr. Carl Schwarz


Course description

Taught by Dr. Carl Schwarz from Simon Fraser University, this course was fully subscribed with 16 people.

The presence or absence of a species in a set of units (polygons, landscape units, territories, etc.) is a fundamental concept in many ecological studies (e.g. resource selection modelling, biodiversity, range). Visits to sampled units can results in a positive detection of a species or a non-detection of the species in that unit. However, a species may not always be detected if present which results in “false negatives”. If the issue of detectablity is not accounted for, estimates that rely on the level of occupancy can be misleading. This workshop covers methods for modelling species occurrence while accounting for potential false negatives.


Course outline


  • differences/similarities of occupancy and capture-recapture modelling
  • role of detectability
  • basic statistical review
    • concepts and notations
    • binomial data, odds ratios
    • basic likelihood
    • model selection and multi-model inference

Single-season occupancy models

  • basic sampling protocol
  • PRESENCE software to fitting single-season models
  • model assumptions
  • dealing with missing data
  • dealing with heterogeneity
  • more advanced features of PRESENCE – design matrices/covariates
  • planning studies; GENPRES software

Multiple-season occupancy models

  • sampling protocol
  • dynamics of population across seasons
  • using PRESENCE
  • alternative parameterizations
  • characterizing occupancy dynamics
  • modelling spatial correlations in occupancy dynamics
  • dealing with missing data
  • dealing with covariates
  • study design

Species co-occurrence models

  • sharing information among species
  • species richness or biodiversity
  • single season models
  • multi season models


  • incorporation of count data
  • incorporation of marked animals
  • incorporation of telemetry data


  • Phone 250-837-9311
  • Fax 250-837-9311
  • Email

Mailing Address

  • P.O. Box 2568
  • Revelstoke, British Columbia V0E 2S0
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