History of the Center of Biostatistics and Modeling

 by Erin Leone

The Center for Biostatistics and Modeling provides statistical analysis advice and support to FWC staff. We are a service-oriented group that supports FWC’s mission much like the other Information Science and Management sub-sections such as the Center for Spatial Analysis, Information Access, and Research Information Sciences.

Our goal is to ensure the validity and continually improve the currency of the scientific studies produced by FWC. We provide general statistical consulting services, develop efficient data management strategies, design study and sampling plans, perform cutting-edge quantitative analyses, produce high-quality graphics and collaborate with staff on peer-reviewed publications. In addition to these services we offer software and analysis training to help staff feel more comfortable with their statistical knowledge base.

The center’s history began in the Lovett E. Williams Jr. Wildlife Research Laboratory in Gainesville back when it housed the Bureau of Wildlife Research under the Game and Fish Commission. It was the retirement of the lab’s namesake – Lovett William – in 1985 that started it all. Realizing the growing need for statistical support, research staff recommended that the commission replace Lovett’s turkey research position not with another biologist, but rather a statistician.

By the time of the commission’s reorganization and creation of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) in 2004, the group consisted of two full-time statisticians in Gainesville. Thanks to the support of staff and leadership, the center has grown considerably and now consists of four statisticians and a dedicated database manager.

Staff in the Center for Biostatistics and Modeling have worked on a wide variety of projects touching every division within FWC and every subsection within FWRI.hypoxssdplot_withwaterbody So far this year we have worked on a number of interesting projects including examining the persistence of bald eagle nesting territories, describing determinant growth in American alligators, estimating species richness on habitat restoration sites, estimating black bear abundance using spatial capture-recapture models, and estimated the impact of red tide on sea turtle mortality. Some examples of our work are highlighted in the included figures. If you have questions about study design, analysis, or are in need of statistical assistance or expertise, please feel free to contact any one of us.

Erin Leone, Paul Schueller, Colin Shea