CBRI Seminar – David Warton – 16th September 2016
The case of the missing model: the modernisation of multivariate analysis in ecology
For the best part of four decades, multivariate analysis in ecology has diverged substantially from mainstream statistics, perhaps because state-of-the-art in 1980's statistics was not capable of handling the complexity frequently seen in multivariate abundance data simultaneously collected across many species. But the methods developed in the ecological literature, still widely used today, have some serious shortcomings that suggest they are fast approaching their use-by date.
The statistical literature appears to be "catching up" with ecology, in part through technologies to fit quite flexible hierarchical models capable of accommodating key date structure. There is a significant movement now to reunify multivariate analysis in ecology with modern statistical practices. Some key developments on this front will be reviewed, and immediate challenges identified.
David Warton is a Professor of Statistics at UNSW and Director of Stats Central, the UNSW statistical consulting unit. He trained to postgraduate level in ecology as well as statistics and is always looking for ways to bridge the two disciplines. His interests are in methodological problems arising in ecology, which often end up involving multivariate analysis or point processes.