Workshop - Intermediate-level workshop Bayesian integrated population modeling (IPM) using BUGS and JAGS

Science Center Objects

Workshop - Intermediate-level workshop Bayesian integrated population modeling (IPM) using BUGS and JAGS


  • Michael Schaub & Marc Kéry, Swiss Ornithological Institute, Sempach,
  • Sarah J. Converse, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

Date: 30 Oct - 3 Nov 2017

Venue: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel/Maryland, USA

Computers: Bring your own laptop with latest R and JAGS

Registration: USD$ 600 (normal rate), USD$ 300 (student rate)

Integrated population models (IPMs) represent the powerful combination, in a single Leslie-type of model, of different data sources that are informative about the dynamics of an animal population (Besbeas et al. 2002; Schaub et al. 2007). Typical IPMs combine one or more time-series of counts with another data set that is directly informative about survival probabilities, such as ring-recovery or capture-recapture. However, many other sources of demographic information may be envisioned instead or in addition, including age-at-death data, occupancy or replicated point count data. Currently, for non-statisticians the only practical manner to develop and fit an IPM is using BUGS software (WinBUGS, OpenBUGS, JAGS).

This course is a practical and hands-on introduction to developing and fitting integrated population models using BUGS software. It is based on the successful book by Kéry & Schaub, Bayesian Population Analysis using WinBUGS (Academic Press, 2012), which will be handed out as part of the course.

Beyond IPMs, the course also provides an in-depth introduction for ecologists and wildlife managers to a very wide variety of models fit using BUGS software and as documented in the BPA book.

Contents include the following topics:

Basic introduction:

  • Hierarchical models as an overarching theme of population modeling, including IPMs
  • Bayesian analysis of hierarchical models
  • Introduction to BUGS software in the context of generalised linear models (GLM) and traditional random-effects models

Ingredients of Integrated Population Models:

  • State-space models
  • Cormack-Jolly-Seber models for estimating survival probabilities
  • Multistate capture-recapture models for estimating survival and transition probabilities

Integrated Population Models (IPMs)

  • Introduction to matrix population models and their analysis with BUGS
  • Theory of integrated population models
  • Various case studies which differ in complexity and in the data types that are combined

About 80% of the time is spent on lecturing and 20% on solving exercises. No previous experience with BUGS software, or Bayesian statistics, is assumed. However, this is not a beginner's, but an intermediate-level workshop and a good working knowledge of modern regression methods (ANOVA, ANCOVA, GLMs, GLMM) and of program R is required. Moreover, a basic understanding of capture-recapture and/or occupancy models and of matrix projection models (Leslie matrices) is desirable. Send your application to Michael Schaub (, with CC to Marc Kéry (; describing your background and knowledge in statistical modeling, R and BUGS software and capture-recapture, by 31 May 2017 at the latest. Workshop invitations will be sent out immediately afterwards.