Dr Pol Capdevila Lanzaco, Rob Salguero-Gomez, Owen Jones, Judy Che-Castaldo and Haydee Hernandez Yanez
University of Oxford
Demography is central to ecology. Most questions related to conservation biology, fundamental and applied ecology, and evolution can be tackled with a demographic approach. This workshop will introduce the open-access COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database and COMADRE Animal Matrix Database, which contain demographic information of hundreds of plant and animal species, in the form of Matrix Population Models (MPMs). MPMs are demographic tools that have helped solidify the mathematical foundations of biological populations. Most of the populations in those databases are spatially and temporally referenced, so other environmental data can be accessed through other databases (e.g. WorldClim, Bio-ORACLE, etc) and coupled with the population dynamics of species. In this workshop, users will queue, output, analyse and run large-scale comparative analyses on demographic records of COMPADRE and COMADRE. We will guide attendees on how to access and query both resources to run comparative analyses in R using open-access R scripts.
Some of the topics include:
(i) parameterisation and basic analyses of a MPM,
(ii) effects of climate change on population dynamics, and
(iii) phylogenetic analyses of the aforementioned outputs.
This workshop is aimed at researchers (from MSc to full professor level and anything in between) as well as practitioners with an interest in learning stage-structure demography and comparative methods in demographic research. We will not make any assumptions about the knowledge of attendees with regards to MPMs, as we will cover this tool from the grounds up. However, users will get the most out of this workshop if they are already acquainted with R. Users are expected to bring their laptops to the workshop, with the latest version of R and RStudio installed. The workshop will be structured on a series of mini lectures followed by exercises in fully-commented R scripts. Overall, we will provide the attendees with a basic understanding of the versatility of big demographic data to address timely, universal questions in the field of ecology.