Sally is training as part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership.
Project Title: Integrating GIS approaches with Geographic Profiling as a novel conservation tool
Summary: Geographic profiling (GP) was developed originally to solve the problem of information overload when dealing with cases of serial crime. It uses spatial data relating to the locations of connected crimes to prioritise the search for the criminal’s anchor point (usually a home), and is extremely successful in this field. Previous work has shown how the same approach can be adapted to fields such as animal foraging, invasion biology and epidemiology. Here, I will look at developing GP for use in the field of conservation biology.
GP is founded in a Bayesian framework, and the principal advantage of a Bayesian approach is that it can be used to update posterior beliefs as more information becomes available. To date, the method’s application within biology has ignored differences in habitat. In this study I will use GIS data to generate more informative priors and test whether this approach improves model performance, using a combination of rigorous simulations and case studies across a range of taxa and habitats, including human wildlife conflict in Sumatra, alpine newt invasions in the UK, lemur dispersal and toad invasions in Madagascar. Ultimately, I will examine whether the combination of GP and GIS data can be used as a practical tool in the field to better inform conservation management plans.