Inaugural lecture by Professor Rachel Fewster, Department of Statistics, The University of Auckland


Monday, 30 November 2020, 6:00 – 7:00 PM (with refreshments at  5:00 PM)

Engineering Lecture Theatre 401, Building 401 (401-401)

20 Symonds Street, Auckland



Statistics is all about making sense of data. The ecological sciences are a statistician’s paradise, continually generating new types of data that need to be made sense of, due to a surge in innovative technologies for studying the populations and behaviour of wild animals.

Imagine if kiwi populations could be monitored simply by leaving microphone recorders in the forest for weeks, taking them back to base … and then what? Or if a few samples of DNA could reveal the launch pads of swimming rats invading sanctuary islands; or if whales could be monitored using photos from satellites? What has counting whales got to do with road traffic modelling? And how can New Zealand’s team of five million contribute to conservation analytics? Professor Fewster will give a taste of the diversity of statistical problems in the ecological domain, introduce a charismatic cast of creatures, and give insights into how we can – sometimes – convert baffling volumes of data into interpretable conclusions.

About the presenter

Rachel Fewster started life as a nature-mad youngster. After studying mathematics at Cambridge, she returned to nature with a PhD

in statistical ecology at St Andrews. She moved to New Zealand for a two-year postdoc in 1999, and is somehow still here. She works in all aspects of ecological statistics, from applied to mathematical, and runs the citizen science project CatchIT involving several thousand members of the NZ public. She is also an enthusiastic educator, and won a national teaching excellence award in 2009.


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Refreshments will be served in the foyer of building 401 (401-400L2) from 5pm, prior to the lecture.

It is also going to be streamed at the following URL

There is no need to register at Eventbrite unless you plan to attend in person.