Session of the Week: An introduction to multi-species occupancy models

Registration for The Wildlife Society’s 25th Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, is now open! Visit for details, or register now by logging in to Your Membership and clicking on the Conference tab.

Scientific advancements have allowed biologists to understand how different environmental conditions and the interaction of species can help determine species occurrence.

During the Multi-species Occupancy Modeling workshop at the upcoming annual TWS conference in Cleveland, attendees will have the opportunity to delve into this idea and learn how to use different techniques of occupancy modeling in order to help them understand multiple species they are studying in the field.

Participants will discuss basic sample design issues and identify how to properly format data for analysis. They will then fit simple multi-species models and continue to add complexity. After using programs such as MARK, STAN and R, workshop participants will learn how to biologically interpret data that comes out of the model. One aspect of this will include graphing techniques that are effective in conveying results from multi-species occupancy models.

Multi-species occupancy models help biologists determine the interference of different factors influencing the occurrence of single or multiple species. The workshop will help attendees apply these hands-on techniques to their work back home.


Christopher Rota, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

Arielle Parsons, North Carolina State University and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Supported by: Biometrics Working Group

Header Image: Pronghorn graze together with a small group of bison in Grand Teton National Park. At this year’s conference in Cleveland, a workshop will focus on multi-species occupancy models. ©Dan Dzurisin