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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Final Procaffeination Hour of Semester

Friday, Decemeber 4th we will have our final Procaffeination Hour of the semester. This will be a low-key time to chat with fellow grad students, hear more about the symposium, and sign up to help on any committees you might be interested it. We will have donuts and snacks, and coffee, and would love to see as many grad students as possible. If you have a few minutes, stop by! We will be in the 4-132 from 9:30- 1030am.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Friday, November 6: Procaffeination Hour Discussion

Please join us for this week's WGSA Workshop, as Brian Crawford leads a discussion on How to change people’s behavior as it relates to conservation behavior change. This workshop is part of the Procaffeination Hour and will be held in the Dean's Conference Room 2-201A on Friday, November 6, 9:30 am- 10:30 am. Details of the workshop are described below. Hope to see you there!

Do people ever change their behavior? If so, how does this happen in society? If we understand how it happens, should we incorporate efforts to facilitate behavior change into broader conservation strategies? Usually when we think about human behavior in Warnell, it’s associated with development of habitat, overharvesting of resources, spread of invasives, or other actions that put species at risk. Yes, human behaviors are problems that contribute to most of the human-natural resource conflicts we study – but changing these behaviors has been recently emphasized as a crucial component for conservation solutions.

workshop will be an open discussion about how behavior change happens and how we might use this for conservation outcomes. We can all draw from our own projects and interests to discuss how education and outreach, social media, and public involvement can potentially lead to behavior change. If you have time, look over the short (~3pp.) article below to help generate some ideas about behavior change in the context of conservation. Looking forward to it!

Materials: “Conservation Means Behavior” (Schultz 2011)

Monday, October 19, 2015

LaTeX for document preparation

Tiffany Vidal will be discussing how to use LaTeX for this week's WGSA Workshop Series during Friday's (10/23) Procaffeination Hour (9:30-10:30 in the Dean's Conference Room).  You can read more about what will be covered and things to do in preparation for the workshop, below.

LaTeX is a document preparation program, and a tool that I have found immensely helpful for writing documents and creating presentations. What I like about LaTeX is that you can control every aspect of the document, but you also don't have to spend a lot of time doing it. Similar to R, there are commands to control format, which can save time and create professional looking documents with ease. The interface is more like programming, but it's not as intimidating as it may seem at first. One of the biggest advantages for me is the ease with which to create equations, insert figures, and keep track of them. For example, the program can number your equations automatically. So, if you move them around they will renumber for you; the same for figures and tables.

This workshop will be an overview of how to get started with LaTeX. We will create a document, add figures and tables, create equations, and add a bibliography. I will come with a list of tasks that I have found useful, and commonly use, but please bring questions and ideas to work on as a group. If you have specific things you know you want to work on, please email me ahead of time so I can make time for it during the workshop.

Before coming to the workshop, please do the following:
  • Bring a charged laptop with you; computers will not be provided
  • Install the LaTex program - I recommend TexStudio as a nice interface
  • Try to create a simple document to ensure the installation was successful
  • Have a figure or two to insert into your document (these can be anything!)

Files from the workshop:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Intro to Map Making

Heather Abernathy will be leading our next WGSA Workshop on an introduction to map making using ArcGIS. The workshop will be held on Friday (10/16) from 9:30-10:30 as part of the WGSA Procaffeination Hour. We will plan to meet in the GIS lab in building 4 instead of the Dean's Conference Room. A brief description of the workshop is below as well as a link to the files you will need (you can download them to a computer in the GIS lab if you are not using your own PC).

Do you find yourself wishing you had a better image of your study site that Google Earth can create? Or struggling to learn basic map-making in GIS? If so, this workshop is for you!
Broadly, my objective in this workshop is to expose novice GIS user to the wonderful world of map-making; namely we will be working with ArcGIS interfaces, Adding data, symbolizing data, making a simple map.
Photo obtained from USDA

Specific Workshop Objectives:
  1. Become familiar with the ArcMap user interface
  2. Access and organize multiple sources of spatial data in a Data View
  3. Apply basic cartographic concepts to display spatial data effectively
  4. Create a map using an ArcMap Layout View
  5. Provide advice on pulling data from online sources and dealing with this data 

Instructions to attendees:
  1. Please download the zip file attached as it has all the data we will be working with.
  2. Please read over the attached terms (Terms Associated with ArcGIS geospatial data) to become familiar with ArcGIS geospatial data terminology we will use during the workshop. I have also provided details regarding the complete ArcGIS Software Package as well as the four major applications of desktop ArcGIS.
  3. I have provided a list of useful sources for acquiring your own data to help inform on objective 5.
Data files

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Getting the Dirt on Natural Resources - Kristen Lear

What do bats and tequila have in common? Tune in as Kristen Lear, Warnell/ ICON PhD student, tells us about her research in Mexico on bat conservation and the integrated social aspects associated with the development of sustainable tequila production practices. Interesting stuff!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Graphics and mice - R packages

This week, Derrick Gallagher will be leading the WGSA Workshops Series on the R packages Graphics and mice. The Graphics package includes extensive plotting functionality.  The mice package is used for multivariate imputation by chained equations. This will be held in room 4-132 during the weekly procaffeination hour (9:30-10:30). Coffee and donuts will be provided by the WGSA. There should be a lot of valuable information provided Friday, so please stop by to check it out!

Please see the detailed description of the workshop to find out what you will need ahead of time, and what to expect during the workshop.

Below are the R scripts and data files that will be used for examples.

R packages

Diameter Distribution
Tree Data

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Introduction to R

This week during the procaffeination hour (Friday Sept. 11 from 9:30-10:30), the WGSA will be offering an introduction to R, led by Tiffany Vidal. R is a powerful, open source, statistical software program broadly used in natural resources research. This workshop is a basic introduction to R to ease the learning curve for those just starting out with it.

You will get the most our of this intro if you bring a computer to work on. In preparation for this workshop, please install R as well as RStudio on your personal computers. We have also prepared an outline and an example data set (as .csv and .txt) that we will use, so please download these data file ahead of time.


R code from workshop

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Survey Design - WGSA Workshop

Hello, Warnell! This week's WGSA Workshop will be on survey design focusing on human dimension and social sciences research. Sarah Horsley and Lauren Mullenbach will be leading the discussion. The workshop will be held in the Deans' Conference Room starting at 4:30 on Wednesday March 18th. Hope to see you there! A description of the discussion is below.

Ever have a grant application ask for outreach/education impacts and wonder how you're supposed to figure that out? Or just interested human dimensions research in general? We have the WGSA workshop for you! This survey design workshop will teach you the basics of creating surveys/questionnaires to use in research. We will look into the components of good surveys, tips for writing clear and concise questions, and the steps that are needed to make sure your survey is valid and reliable. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

WGSA Workshop - SDM

UPDATE: Files from this workshop can be accessed using the links below:

Workshop Handout
Salamander SDM
Salamander SDM - Completed

This week's WGSA Workshop will be on the topic of Structured Decision Making (SDM), led by Tara Crawford and Brian Crawford. This workshop will take place Wednesday March 4th in the Dean's Conference Room at 4:00pm. A description of what will be covered is below.

Most natural resource management and conservation issues that we face today involve complex social-ecological interactions; diverse groups of people wanting different things, a variety of potential management/policy solutions under consideration, and uncertainties that impair our understanding of the systems we wish to manage and the outcomes of alternative management options. Structured Decision Making (SDM) is one approach used to decompose such decision problems through a series of steps that help identify which management or policy alternatives bring us closest to achieving our objectives. This workshop will briefly introduce the basic principles, steps, and uses of this approach for addressing natural resource issues. Participants will gain experience in SDM through a mock decision analysis in which each participant will play the role of a stakeholder in the context of a mock decision problem. We will quickly work through each step in the SDM process and ultimately arrive at a decision for managing a new (imaginary) species of salamander discovered to inhabit UGA’s Oconnee Forest. 

Things to do/download/read prior to workshop: Nothing. See you there!

2015 WGSA Symposium Proceedings

Thank you to everyone who presented, attended, and volunteered to help make this year's symposium a great success! The proceedings from the meeting are below.

Friday, February 20, 2015

glmmADMB - WGSA Workshop Series

UPDATE: presentation from workshop

This week, for the WGSA Workshop Series, Cassie Jansch will be discussing the R package glmmADMB. This workshop will be Wednesday March 25th at 4:00pm in the Dean's Conference Room.

The R software package {glmmADMB} allows for fitting generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) within the R interface with the power of AD Model Builder (a program that I will freely admit I don't understand) to a further extent than other packages such as {lme4} allow. For example, you can fit models with responses described by a negative binomial distribution that include multiple random effects with incorporated zero inflation. There are also a variety of response distributions (including Beta, truncated Poisson, Gamma,...) and link functions (log, logit, probit,...) at your beck and call. Familiarity with GLMs and GLMMs is helpful in learning how this package can work for you. To properly run {glmmADMB}, R package {R2admb} is required, and installing these two in advance will allow us to dive into the fun a little quicker!

install.packages("glmmADMB", repos="", type="source")

install.packages("R2admb", repos="")

Data files to download for the workshop:

Please come by and check it out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2015 Warnell Graduate Symposium

The Symposium starts tomorrow! This is one of the big academic events at Warnell that provides an opportunity to present the diverse research we are all working on with our peers. Often we find ourselves traveling to specific conferences to present to broader audiences engaged in our respective fields, which is wonderful but often creates a gap in the communication of research ideas within our own community. For those reasons, this even is such a great opportunity, not to mention a lot of fun! We will kick off the events tomorrow with the Colloquium speaker, Dr. William Uihlein, at 3:30 in room 1-304. Posters will be up in the lobby of building 4 from 1:00pm Wednesday through Friday, so please head over and take a look. Following the seminar tomorrow, we will meet for a poster session reception from 4:30-6:30. Please plan to attend the Colloquium address by Dr. Uihlein and then join us for a reception with your colleagues.

You can find a copy of the program here! There will be more than 50 students presenting on Tuesday, so please plan to attend to support the Warnell community to engage in the research happening right here at UGA!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Congrats to Derek Bahr

At the recent Southern Division AFS, our very own Derek Bahr was runner-up for the Best Student Presentation Award. Congrats Derek! The abstract of the talk he presented is below.

Atlantic Sturgeon recruitment in the Savannah River, Georgia

Derek L. Bahr
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources–University of Georgia
180 E Green Street, Athens, GA 30602
Phone: (715) 869-0513

Douglas L. Peterson
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources–University of Georgia
180 E Green Street, Athens, GA 30602
Phone: (706) 542-2944

Atlantic sturgeon were once abundant along the Atlantic Coast of North America from the Saint John River, Canada to the St. Johns River, Florida. Severe overfishing, coupled with habitat losses during the 1900s, resulted in major population declines that eventually led to the species’ listing under the US Endangered Species Act in 2012. Although Atlantic sturgeon are now considered endangered, quantified recruitment data are largely lacking for most systems, particularly among populations within the South Atlantic Distinct Population Segment (DPS). The objective of this study was to quantify annual recruitment of Atlantic sturgeon in the Savannah River, Georgia by estimating annual abundance of age-1 river-resident juveniles. During the summers of 2013–2014, we used anchored gill nets and trammel nets to sample juvenile Atlantic sturgeon throughout the Savannah River estuary. Ages of captured juveniles were determined using length-frequency histograms that were verified with fin ray cross sections from a subsample of the captured fish. Abundance of each juvenile age class was then estimated with Huggins closed-capture models in RMark. Our results showed that the Savannah River contained 528 (95% CI, 402–726) age-1 juveniles in 2013 and 616 (95% CI, 500–775) age-1 juveniles in 2014. These findings suggest that the Savannah River population is likely the 2nd largest within the South Atlantic DPS.  Future estimates of juvenile abundance should help provide quantified information regarding population trends as well as identify key environmental variables affecting recruitment in the Savannah River system.

JAGS - WGSA Workshop Series

UPDATE: Here is the PowerPoint presentation from this workshop for your reference.

The next WGSA Workshop will be help on Wednesday (2/11) at 4:00 in the Dean's Conference Room. Paige Howell will lead us in an introduction to JAGS, a Bayesian software program. Please see a more detailed description below, and we hope you can join us!

Crash course in using JAGS through the R interface. Participants should have R ( installed on their computer as well as the rjags package and JAGS ( before coming. The workshop will briefly cover the basics of Bayesian inference using Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulation. Participants will have a chance to work through an exercise building a model with the JAGS language and executing their script in R. Past experience with R, maximum likelihood parameter estimation, and generalized linear models is useful but not required.

Files for the course:
JAGS crash course
tadpole data
Poisson regression

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

WGSA Meeting Jan 22 6-8pm

We will be having our first spring 2015 meeting at Trans Met on Thursday January 22nd. We'll be providing pizza and beer, and discussing the upcoming symposium. This is a great opportunity to get involved and contribute to Warnell. The symposium is always a great time to present your research and see what your fellow students are working on. Please plan to attend! We'll be meeting upstairs around 6:00pm. See you then!