Today sees the kickoff of the long-anticipated iAtlantic capacity building workshop on ocean time series data. This 4-day workshop is a joint event between iAtlantic and the Master Research Programme on Climate Change & Marine Sciences at WASCAL (West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use), organised by iAtlantic’s Lea-Anne Henry (U. Edinburgh) and Marjolaine Matabos (Ifremer). Tuition is led by renowned numerical ecologist Prof. Pierre Legendre, professor of quantitative ecology at Université de Montréal, Canada.
Originally planned as an in-person event in Cabo Verde, the global COVID-19 pandemic has demanded some innovative thinking and replanning in order to deliver a highly technical learning experience using video conferencing across several time zones.
The training aims to strengthen the capacities of marine scientists to use statistical methods to visualise, analyse and explain drivers of change in ocean time series datasets in order to interpret the changes we have seen and predict future changes. Targeted at researchers who already have some understanding of statistics and experience using the R software, this workshop has a truly international flavour with 60 participants from Cabo Verde, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Portugal, UK, Ireland, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Benin, Canada, Namibia, Spain, the Netherlands, Guinea, Switzerland, Iceland and Italy.
The workshop schedule is intense: in addition to the daily online sessions, which start with an initial plenary Q&A session followed by breakout groups to work on specific practical exercises, participants have had to prepare for each live session by reading a number of introductory documents and watching a series of pre-recorded video lectures prepared by the workshop instructor. The daily practical sessions work through a series of exercises using R software on pre-supplied datasets, but participants also have the opportunity to work on their own datasets during the sessions. Help and advice is on hand at all times during the workshop, with instructor Pierre online to answer questions along with breakout room assistants Garance Perrois (Ifremer), Johanne Vad (U. Edinburgh) and Loic Van Audenhaege (Ifremer).
A busy week of work awaits the workshop participants! This event is Pierre’s 84th time of delivering this training (yes, really!), so at the end of the week we hope everyone will feel the full benefit of his expertise and be rewarded with increased confidence in analysing ocean time series data.