Dr. Christen Fleming heads the Ecoinformatics Lab, which works on the development and application of analytic methods for ecological, environmental, and evolutionary data, with a strong focus on addressing conservation needs. The general aim of the Ecoinformatics Lab is to resolve how abundant, yet complex data be used to inform conservation and management, through the combination of mathematical, statistical, and computational approaches. The research interests of the Ecoinformatics Lab include animal movement, species distribution, phylogenetic evolution, and population dynamics. This research is highly interdisciplinary, in nature, and involves collaboration with applied mathematicians, statisticians, physicists, and computer scientists, and making heavy use of stochastic processes, mathematical statistics, numerical analysis, and scientific computing.

Dr. Fleming also leads the development of the “continuous-time movement modeling” (ctmm) R software package, along with ctmm associated labs at CASUS, UMD, UBC, and UA. ctmm is an award-winning statistical analysis package for animal tracking data, wherein tracked animal locations are modeled as a continuous-time stochastic process that is discretely sampled in time. This level of modeling sophistication is necessary for conservation, as previous methods—that assume tracked locations are independent from one time to the next—have been shown to underestimate animal space use by factors of 2-20 on average, depending on the method and species (Noonan et al., 2019).

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