The II Hierarchical Modeling Workshop took place at the Pousada Haras Cambará, in Porto Alegre, February 1-7, 2015. The workshop was co-taught by Marc Kéry (Swiss Ornithological Institute), Juan Manuel Morales (Universidad del Comahue, Argentina), Jérôme Guelát (University of Zurich), Murilo Guimarães (UFRGS) and Gonçalo Ferraz (UFRGS), with the assistance of Thiago Couto (UnB). The 22 attendants came from Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay. This workshop was made possible by a partnership with the Graduate Program of Ecology from the Universidade Federal de Viçosa, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
This workshop was a sequel to the 2014 Workshop on Hierarchical Bayesian Modeling for Ecologists. In 2014, we presented a broad introduction to linear models in ecology and their implementation in the Bayesian framework. We also gave an overview of some related and more specialized statistical models that are useful for ecologists, such as models for occupancy and survival. In 2015, we focused on individual-based models of demographically closed populations, with an emphasis on abundance and movement estimation. The syllabus was largely based on two applied statistics books co-authored by Marc Kéry and published by Academic Press (2010 and 2012). After a one-day introduction to hierarchical models, the first part of the workshop introduced four different approaches to abundance estimation: closed-population mark-recapture models, distance sampling models, N-mixture models, and spatial capture-recapture models. In the second part, we presented an introduction and some applications of random walk models of animal movement. Most models were implemented in a Bayesian framework, with time for computer exercises and project discussions.