About ISEC

We live in a data-rich world. New data collection tools such as drones, camera traps, acoustic recorders and new remote-sensing platforms are leading to ever increasing streams of environmental and ecological data, adding to traditional sources such as citizen science projects and environmental monitoring programmes. These data have enormous potential to help us better understand the natural world around us and to make better conservation decisions, particularly in developing countries where human resource-needs are growing rapidly. However, it is often difficult to extract the relevant information from these diverse data streams. Statistical ecology is a young field of research aiming to fill this gap by developing statistical methods that are designed to extract signals from the layered and noisy ecological data streams.

Run under the auspices of the United Kingdom’s National Centre for Statistical Ecology, the International Statistical Ecology Conference (ISEC) is the main international biennial gathering of statistical ecologists. The inaugural ISEC was held in 2008 at St Andrews University, Scotland and has grown steadily year on year. Starting from relatively small beginnings the conference has grown to 370 in-person delegates in 2018. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, ISEC2020 was completely virtual and attracted more than 800 participants.

Statistical ecology is an inherently interdisciplinary field. The goal of statistical ecology is to use the most powerful statistical tools to address the most important questions in ecology. One of the most important impacts of ISEC is that it brings together statisticians interested in ecological problems and ecologists with interests in quantitative methods. Increasingly, ISEC delegates are highly skilled in both statistics and ecology, thus bridging two fields that are in many places still separated by a gap. A gap between statistics and ecology means that many ecologists are not able to use statistical methods in the best possible way and many statisticians are solving problems that ecologists would not rank as top priorities.

The statistical ecology community at ISEC aims to close this gap, leading to more impactful research and better management decisions in the environmental sector.

Talks, posters and workshops at ISEC cover a broad range of themes within statistical ecology such as abundance estimation, animal movement, big data, biodiversity, capture-recapture, citizen science, community dynamics, disease ecology, distance sampling, epidemiology, evolutionary ecology, fisheries, individual-based models, integrated population models, metapopulation dynamics, multispecies models, occupancy models, population dynamics, spatial ecology, species distribution models, and survey design.

ISEC has a strong focus on capacity building through a series of pre-conference workshops and ‘skill showcase’ sessions, often taught by world experts. Click here for more information about workshops at ISEC2022. ISEC also strives to be as inclusive as possible, and with the help of the ISEC2022 inclusiveness committee we aim to create a platform for statistical ecologists from under-represented backgrounds to showcase their work and actively participate in the conference. For more on this please see our inclusivity statement here.

Previous ISEC gatherings

2020: Virtual (hosted in Sydney, Australia)
2018: St Andrews, UK
2016: Seattle, USA
2014: Montpellier, France
2012: Krokkleiva, Norway
2010: Canterbury, UK
2008: St Andrews, UK