Program Information


Pre-Conference Workshops

Workshop 1 : Boot camp in wildlife study design and data analysis

Dates: 19 through 30 June, with rest days on 22 and 26 June (10 days)
Lead trainer: Mike Meredith and Ngumbang Juat, assisted by experienced instructors
Participant cost: USD 50

Primary aims of workshop
To introduce field biologists to modern methods of data analysis and the design requirements to produce usable data.

Short background and justification
Wildlife field studies differ from experiments in that (1) our results are relevant to conservation management, (2) we deal directly with complex ecological systems, (3) we collect binary data (present/absent, alive/dead, caught/not caught) and count data, and (4) we don't detect all the individuals or species present and need to adjust for probability of detection. In this workshop, we make no reference to significance tests and move directly to modelling, model selection and Bayesian analysis. We deal specifically with occupancy estimation and mark-recapture methods for density and survival. No prior knowledge of statistics is needed, but participants should have a background in field biology.

Detailed course timetable
Boot camp schedule click here

For more information, click here or visit the BCSS website

Workshop 2 : Fundamentals of GIS for ecology and species distribution modeling

Dates: 24 June through 28 June (5 days)
Lead trainer: Dr. Alice C. Hughes
Participant cost: USD 75

Primary aims of workshop
Train people how to develop spatial ecological studies, and to develop, implement and analyse studies which utilise spatial ecological approaches, and species distribution modelling approaches.

Short background and justification
GIS skills are essential to modern day ecologists. No matter what their specialism ecologists have had to acknowledge that species, and ecological phenomena occur in the real world, and that the relationships exist between environmental factors and other species can only be properly understood by acknowledging the spatial relationships and therefore by using GIS techniques.

Species distribution modeling techniques also represent powerful and popular tools to extrapolate from the known records of a species distribution to predict the potential distribution of a species under various conditions, and better understand factors underlying these distributions.

Detailed course background
The workshop aims to: A). train students in fundamental GIS tools and techniques using a number of different available software programs; B). teach students how to design and implement studies that utilize GIS techniques, and avoid potentially confounding biases; C). discuss the use of predictive modeling techniques to spatially project species distributions, using various approaches. D). use predictive approaches to project species distributions under changing conditions and: E). use various approaches and spatial statistics to interpret and analyse the results. Further information on the course schedule and structure is available at the base of this document).

During each part of the workshop students will be asked to reflect on how the approaches can directly be used in their own studies, and the final ½ day of the workshop will be available for students to start working with their own data so they have something they can continue to work on following the workshop.

All students will receive a digital booklet compiled for the course that provides explanations for all tasks, background theoretical material and suggested further reading. Students are also encouraged to bring their own data-sets as there will be the opportunity to start developing their own research using the techniques covered (and any others of interest) in the final afternoon of the fourth day workshop, or too extend this on for a final two days for advanced students with data.

By the end of the workshops all participants should have the skills to develop and competently use GIS and species distribution modeling techniques in their own research.

Each evening during the workshop students can choose to attend a GIS Clinic: and go through their own study with the instructor on a one to one basis, to design, develop and analyze their own studies-further work on this will also occur on the final day of the workshop, but these appointments will enable students to advance their work further in the final day.

Detailed course timetable
Day 1~3 Data selection and preparation

Using GIS in Ecological research Components A-B. The workshop will start with a 45 minute seminar on Using GIS in ecological research, before a combination of short seminars and tasks to lead the students through basic GIS skills and choosing appropriate environmental variables for their research. We also go into remote sensing, so the understand what data is available and how it is generated.

In this component of the workshop students will get an overview of various available GIS software available. Students are requested to install Quantum GIS (freely available from and ArcGIS (either from their research institute or from the online free trial) before the workshop.

We will go through a number of basic, and some advanced GIS methods using various pieces of software, and how students can access and develop data needed to compile all the appropriate environmental variables. These skills will include uploading field-collected data, digitizing various forms of data, converting and manipulating GIS data and many other GIS skills, and will explore redlist of ecosystem assessments and how these can be integrated with spatial analysis.

As not all students have access to ArcGIS at their home institutions, most tasks will be possible in both ARC and freeware, and detailed instructions have been prepared for both.

By the end of this component of the course the students should feel comfortable with using GIS software to upload, download and manipulate data.

During this component we will also discuss experimental design, database development, and distribution data preparation.

We will learn how to use different data formats, to digitize landcover from imagery and to develop continuous data layers for parameters like temperature or humidity based on data they have collected in the field, or downloaded. Here they will become comfortable with adapting spatial approaches to address ecological questions, and how to source and develop appropriate data.

Day 4-5 Using predictive approaches in ecology
Seminar on Species distribution modeling: the versatility and value of models, understanding assumptions and developing studies using Species distribution modeling techniques.

Using Species distribution modeling techniques (primarily MaxEnt-, projecting under different environmental conditions and interpretation and analysis. Students will run a number of models, then compare and interpret model outputs for different species and timescales. Students will also learn how to interpret and understand these models.

Spatial statistics or developing your own models and studies using GIS and SDMs. We will be tailoring data and approaches for each of your studies-so that at the end of the course you can all go away with parts of your own studies complete and a better understanding of how to take them forward and develop them further. The day will end with a critical thinking test, to help students “think spatially” and help further develop their approaches to GIS.

Using the students own data, or research projects to design appropriate spatial techniques to better understand their research questions.

Workshop 3 : Innovative education and communication for conservation

Dates: 27 June through 30 June (4 days)
Lead trainer: Dr. Cedric Tan
Participant cost: USD 60

Primary aims of workshop
Aimed at people passionate about education and outreach in conservation, this workshop summarises the evidence for robust pedagogy, and showcases innovative approaches of online learning, multi-media, gamification, interactive theatre which are becoming increasingly popular and have direct conservation applications.

Short background and justification
Education underpins the development of the interdisciplinary skills needed to tackle conservation problems. Clear communication is vital to create awareness, engagement and effective dialogue amongst the wider public, business leaders, and policy-makers. By reaching out to people of different backgrounds together, our methods of education also foster friendship and the development of mutual understanding among stakeholders in conservation.

Workshop 4 : Analyses of animal movement data for ecology and conservation

Dates: 28 June through 30 June (3 days)
Lead trainer: Dr. Navinder Singh
Participant cost: USD 45

Primary aims of workshop
To develop an understanding and skills for handling, managing, visualizing and analysing animal movement data for Ecology and Conservation in R.

Short background and justification
Animal Movement is a key ecosystem process with consequences on population persistence and structure and functioning of ecosystems. Movement studies are developing rapidly in the tropical ecosystems with the advent of technological developments in tracking animals. This provides a great opportunity to increase our understanding as well as develop skills in managing, exploring, visualizing and analysing animal movement data for conservation and management.

There have been many recent developments in the statistical packages dealing with animal movement data and its analyses especially in R. The workshop on ‘Analyses and visualization of Animal Movement Data for Ecology and Conservation’ is focussed on training researchers and or managers in the handling, management, visualization and analyses of animal movement data obtained from GPS tracking methods, in R.

Workshop 5 : Estimating population parameters using mark-recapture: an introduction

Dates: 29 June through 30 June (2 days)
Lead trainer: Professor Phillip Hammond
Participant cost: USD 30

Primary aims of workshop
On successful completion of the workshop, participants will be able to design, execute, and analyse data and interpret results from a mark-recapture study.

Short background and justification
This 2-day workshop will introduce participants to the estimation of population size and survival rates using mark-recapture analysis of individual recognition data, techniques that are widely used to study terrestrial and marine animals, especially mammals and birds.

Detailed course background
Mark-recapture analysis can become complicated if there are sufficient data to support complex models. The time constraints and introductory nature of this workshop limit coverage to relatively simple analyses, while providing opportunities for discussing greater complexity, as appropriate.

The methodology will be presented in a statistical context because analytical assumptions are critical when considering how data are collected, analysed and interpreted. However, the focus will be very much on practical application, especially the analysis of data within software MARK. There will be some emphasis on using photo-identification to mark animals and the implications of this for data processing and analysis. Example datasets will be provided but participants are encouraged to bring their own data for analysis.

Detailed course timetable
Workshop outline:

  1. Introduction to mark-recapture methods: principles and assumptions
  2. Data collection: capture, marking, turning images into data for analysis (photo-id)
  3. Data analysis: estimating population size using closed population models. Simple 2-sample population estimation. Multi-sample models that allow capture probability to vary
  4. Possible additional topics: estimating fecundity from birth interval data; population status and trends; population viability analysis

Workshop 6 : Bioacoustics

Date: 30 June (1 day)
Lead trainer: Catharina Karlsson
Participant cost: USD 15

Primary aims of workshop
Introduction to using different types of free tools for automated classification of acoustic data.

Short background and justification
Passive acoustic monitoring is a great complement to classically collected survey data. It has the potential to collect very large datasets and manual species identification of this data is very time consuming. However, some great free tools are becoming available on the market to help automate the identification of species with different types of classification algorithms. The workshop aims to give the participants a first introduction in how to use these.

Workshop 7 : You’re never too young to do conservation: addressing challenges among upcoming ecologists and conservationists in the tropics

Date: 30 June (1 day)
Lead trainer: Krizler C. Tanalgo
Participant cost: USD 15

Primary aims of workshop

Within this workshop, we will create an interactive environment that aims to develop the confidence and capacity of young and upcoming ecologists and conservationists from across the tropics by inviting experts in the field to share their ideas and motivational experiences.

Specifically, this workshop aims to:

  1. Bring together students and young conservationists across primarily from Asia and the Pacific (though other upcoming conservation biologists will also be welcome to attend), and develop a stimulating roundtable discussion and solutions to career challenges and issues in tropical conservation.
  2. Build student capacity around “soft-skills” (i.e., presentation and interview skills, how to start research in conservation) and essential advice from experts in the field of ecology and conservation.
  3. Match students’ field of interest to experts’ field of expertise in order for them to deeply discuss questions and challenges in a specific field or topic, which will lead to future mentorship and collaboration.
  4. Lastly, we aim to formally establish a core network of the Future Conservation Biologist subchapter (FCB) of the ATBC Asia-Pacific Chapter and develop a brief letter (legacy note) about future conservationists’ position on challenges experienced and suggested solutions, signed by the members and participants.

Short background and justification
Starting a career in the field of conservation at any level is truly challenging and sometimes frustrating, and the struggle is real and there are no exceptions. But the right mentor and good connections can be empowering, and help upcoming conservation biologists reach their potential.

In the tropics, the role of the younger generation of ecologists and conservationists is essential to sustain the conservation actions in the future and to find new mechanisms to develop and implement scientifically based conservation and management recommendations. In an age of technological advances, access to different resources to make ecological and conservation studies easy and accessible, there are still challenges and struggles for many young ecologists and conservationists which may hinder them in reaching their full potential and capacity. In order to make this happen, the ATBC-Asia Pacific has launched the “Future Conservation Biologists” (FCB) subchapter, a new initiative which aims to make bring together the region’s future leaders in conservation and let them reach their full potential. This workshop will be one of our first real initiatives and make our young participants more confident, interactive, and visible during the ATBC conference.

Detailed course background
The future conservationist workshop will be an interactive activity that will involve young conservationists and invited tropical conservationists. It will be a whole day activity ideally scheduled prior to the conference proper to allow workshop participant to feel at ease with fellow conservationists and conservation scientists attending the conference and provide an ample time to get personally connected with each other.

The participants’ full participation and attention are essential to fully learn from this workshop and activities we will introduce, so prior to the workshop, we will send instructions, mini-activities, and information to all the participants on the things they need to prepare. To maximise the time period, we will divide the workshop into 3 parts: the first part (acclimatisation) which will be concentrated on fun and interactive self-introduction activities. This activity will allow participants to knowing each other’s background and interest (i.e., the field of interest, country of work, etc.) in a different way than usual question and answer format.

The second part (survival of the fittest) will focus on the “soft-skills” in ecology and conservation that will involve experts in the field of conservation science. Here, our invited experts will introduce different essential skills that will benefit young conservationist to “survive” and succeed in ecology and conservation. These activities include interview and presentation skills, CV preparation, approaching or corresponding to scientists.

In 2nd phase of part II, one to two experts (veteran and early-career in the field) sharing their “survival strategies” and motivational and challenging stories related to their career in conservation. But, to make sure every participant get to know more about the scientists and fellows in their respective field of interest during the conference duration (and in the future), we will build a ‘database’ of attendees (sorted as scientist/students/mentor etc. including their emails and web pages) that we will match to participants interests.

This will be organised by the trainer and ATBC organisers. The third one will focus on issues and challenges shared among young conservationist (mutualism). Here, we will develop a mind stimulating roundtable discussion to cover every single issue (i.e., grants, self-confidence, gender-age equality, etc.) faced by young conservationists, which hinders them to succeed and achieve certain goals. In the discussion, we will also tackle the solutions or solutions they propose in order to resolve different issues. Through sharing common challenges and solutions, each participant will pick-up something that will guide them to resolve current or future challenges. Consequently, at the end of the workshop, we aim to develop a brief article (popular science article or perhaps a letter/perspectives co-authored/signed by the participants) to “air” our discussion within the workshop, which we will publish and disseminate (or present in the end of ATBC -if allowed and appropriate) in order to reach out other young conservation who weren’t able to attend the workshop.

Detailed course timetable

8:00 AM to 8:30 AM
Opening and introduction of the workshop (by workshop organisers), presentation of outline and expected outcomes

8:30 AM to 9:30 AM
Part I of the workshop: Self-introduction and getting to know each other activity (prior to the workshop, participants and experts will be asked for digital calling card/or online profiles then will be archived online in a QR code that will be accessible to participants, this will be organised by the workshop organisers)

9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Part II a: Interactive “Soft-skills” training and two motivational speakers (expert/veteran and early-career in the field) (20 minutes talk each)

12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Lunch Break

1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Synthesis of Part II, the start of Part III a: roundtable discussion on challenges among young conservationists

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Part III b: Solutions and develop the first draft of the brief letter, article, declaration, etc. addressing the challenges and solutions experienced by young conservationists

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Dinner or BBQ in a local restaurant (optional (but we encourage to attend) and to be discussed by participants)

Post-Conference Workshops

Workshop 8 : Wildlife the toonie way - a workshop on wildlife cartoons

Date: 1 July (half day)
Lead trainer: Rohan Chakravarthy
Participant cost: USD 15

Primary aims of workshop
Enabling researchers with creative communication for simplifying science.

Short background and justification
Conservation science is layered and complex. Visual humour helps break the jargon into simplified information, easily digestible to the layman. Readers not only retain such information but also respond to it.

Detailed course background
The lesson is divided into the following phases -

  1. Warming up like an artist
  2. Creating your own cartoon character out of wild animals (designing a character framework and adding details)
  3. Making your character 'act' (learning to draw expressions and gestures)
  4. Creating cartoon backgrounds and props
  5. Placing cartoon characters within a frame
  6. Writing and drawing your own comic strip (with a conservation message)

Workshop 9 : Lobbying for conservation

Date: 6 July (1 day)
Lead trainer: Dr. Gopalasamy Reuben Clements
Participant cost: USD 15

Primary aims of workshop

  1. To know six fundamental principles of influence for lobbying.
  2. To understand how these principles are used in real-life conservation.
  3. To be able to apply these principles in the projects of individual participants.

Short background and justification
Successful conservation outcomes are often the result of strategic lobbying with key decision makers in government. However, lobbying efforts can fail or even backfire without a fundamental understanding on the science of persuasion . As such, it is timely to have a workshop to develop lobbying skillsets, especially among young conservationists.

Workshop 10 : Social science survey methods for conservation research

Dates: 6 July through 7 July (2 days)
Lead trainer: Dr. Azlina Amir Kassim
Participant cost: USD 30

Primary aims of workshop

  1. To examine issues related to designing valid and reliable questionnaires
  2. Understanding the rigorous, step-by-step process for the development and implementation of surveys in research
  3. At the end of the workshop, participants will be equipped with knowledge on the process required for the development of a valid and reliable survey

Short background and justification
Surveys are a common tool used in gathering data in applied social science research. Where using existing measures may not be entirely suitable for adaptation due to cultural differences or appropriateness to the current context, researchers rely on developing their own surveys for use in their particular research. This may be particularly true for the environmental and ecological sciences where survey research is being used more commonly in order to understand human dimensions on environmental or ecological issues.

This workshop will equip participants with knowledge and skills on the step-by-step process of developing valid and reliable surveys from the planning stage to the implementation stage.

Workshop 11 : Conservation drones

Dates: 6 July through 8 July (3 days)
Lead trainer: Molly Hennekam
Participant cost: USD 45

Primary aims of workshop

Short background and justification

Workshop 12 : Technique for bat field ecology

Dates: 6 July to 10 July (5 days)
Lead trainer: Dr. Tuonjit Sritongchuay
Participant cost: USD 75

Primary aims of workshop
To build up capacity study on bat research in tropical Asia.

Short background and justification
Bats play the great role in ecosystem. Learning the new technique for bat research is important step towards the improvement of research quality.