Researcher

Professor David Iain Warton

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

ABOUT ME

 

Biography

I am an ecological statistician who advances methodology for data analysis in ecology, to improve the ability of ecologists to answer important research questions. I lead the Eco-Stats group, based in the School of Mathematics and Statistics and affiliated with the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre, which has attracted over $3M in ARC research funding.  My cross-disciplinary research involves evaluating the methods for...view more

ABOUT ME

 

Biography

I am an ecological statistician who advances methodology for data analysis in ecology, to improve the ability of ecologists to answer important research questions. I lead the Eco-Stats group, based in the School of Mathematics and Statistics and affiliated with the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre, which has attracted over $3M in ARC research funding.  My cross-disciplinary research involves evaluating the methods for data analysis currently used in ecology, and where necessary, developing new methodologies to assist ecologists answer key research questions.

Education

    • Graduate Certificate in University Learning and Teaching (UNSW, 2004)
    • PhD in Ecological Statistics (Macquarie, 2003)
    • MA in Mathematical Statistics (Sydney, 1999)
    • BSc (Hons I + Medal) majoring in Ecology and Pure Mathematics (Sydney, 1997)

 

RESEARCH

 

Research Goals

      • Evaluate the methods for data analysis currently used in ecology
      • Where necessary, develops new methodologies to assist ecologists answer key research questions (sometimes new types of questions that have never been answered before!).

Research in Detail

My cross-disciplinary research is primarily of a statistical nature but it involves collaborating with ecologists as well as statisticians and researchers from related disciplines, nationally and internationally. Although my research is grounded in ecological questions, it ranges from applied to quite theoretical, with methodological contributions to multivariate analysis (for applications in allometry), high-dimensional data analysis (for applications in community ecology), and point process modelling (for species distribution modelling). But I would be willing to try my hand at pretty much any challenging methodological problem arising in ecology!

Research Grants

  • 2015-2017 ARC Discovery Grant ($259,500) Warton DI, "Advances in biodiversity modelling - analysis of high-dimensional counts"
  • 2012-2016 ARC Future Fellowship ($624,856) Warton DI, "Predicting the ecological impacts of climate change: advancing tools for the analysis of high-dimensional data in ecology"
  • 2012-2014 ARC Discovery Project ($300,000) Warton DI "New approaches to predictive modelling of high-dimensional count data to study climate impacts on ecological communities"
  • 2010-2013 ARC Linkage Grant ($401,000) Ramp D, Warton DI, Jenkins KM, Ashcroft MB, Gollan JR, Driver P "Innovative approaches to identifying regional responses of biodiversity to climate change"
  • 2009-2011 ARC Discovery Project ($282,000) Warton DI "Advances in statistical methods for analysing high dimensional count data"
  • 2009-2011 ARC Discovery Project ($300,000) Warton DI, Andrew NR & Gibb H "Predicting the effect of climate change on community structure and function: an assessment using temperate grassland invertebrates"
  • 2008 UNSW Goldstar Award ($30,000) Warton DI "Advances in statistical methods for analysing community abundance data in the environmental sciences"
  • 2007-2009 ARC Linkage Project ($450,000) Kingsford RT, Laffan SW, Warton DI, Merson JA, Bradstock RA, Mulley R, Auld TD & Chapple RS "Managing Ecosystem Change in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area"
  • 2007 UNSW Goldstar Award ($40,000)Warton DI "Advances in statistical methods for analysing community abundance data in the environmental sciences"

Current Student Projects (PhD and Honours)

Eve Slavich PhD Student (2011-), Uncertainty in climate maps used for community level modelling

Elliot Dovers (2017-), Multi-species point process modelling

Robert Nguyen (2017-), Predicting AFL player and team performance

For more details see Eco-Stats - People.

Supervision Opportunities/Areas

I’m keen to discuss potential research project ideas with any student with interests in statistical problems arising from concrete applications, whether the project itself is applied or theoretical. Especially (but not necessarily!) at the interface with ecology. Statistics is a highly technical discipline, so training in the mathematical sciences is important, ideally with some specialisation in statistics. I’m especially familiar with problems in high-dimensional analysis, latent variable modelling, errors-in-variables modelling, and point process modelling, but am open to suggestions if you have another idea.

Some specific project ideas can be found at http://www.eco-stats.unsw.edu.au/opportunities.html

Advice for prospective students

I’m affiliated with both the School of Mathematics and Statistics and the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre, through either of which you can enrol, and both of which have active Honours and postgraduate research programs – including an annual postgraduate conference, workshops for additional training, teaching opportunities as a classroom tutor or lab demonstrator, and more. In all of which you will be encouraged to participate! The Eco-Stats Research Group meets weekly to discuss current research by its members and recent developments in the literature more broadly. One of the exciting things about research is the opportunity to travel to and meet and work with people from all around the world. Our group is building an extensive network of collaborators, and there is a good chance you will get to work with ecologists and/or statisticians from Australia or maybe internationally. We regularly present our work at conferences – in the last couple of years, Eco-Stats researchers presented in Oregon, Seattle, Queenstown and Hobart.  And Canberra.

We also run occasional Eco-Stats Lab for biologists, where an Eco-Stats researcher prepares a one-hour tutorial introducing attendees to a modern and potentially relevant statistical method. For recent examples see http://www.eco-stats.blogspot.com. This is an excellent training opportunity and a great way to meet ecologists, and maybe even to start your own collaboration!

 

TEACHING & OUTREACH

 

Courses I teach

MATH5935 - Statistical Consultancy.

MATH5846 - Introduction to Probability and Stochastic Processes

Professional affiliations and service positions

Director of Stats Central Stats Central

Director of Postgraduate Studies (Research), School of Mathematics and Statistics

Associate Editor, Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Associate Editor, Journal of Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Statistics

 

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS

2014 Christopher Heyde Medal (for contributions to statistics and probability theory), Australian Academy of Sciences

2014 Young Investigator Award, American Statistical Association (Section on Statistics and the Environment)

2009 NSW/ACT Young Tall Poppy Award for research achievement and science communication

2005 Learning and Teaching Award, UNSW Faculty of Science


My Expertise

Statistics, ecological & environmental statistics.

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Location

School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2052
The Red Centre
Room 2052

Contact

+61 2 9385 7031
+61 2 9385 7123

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Publications

by Professor David Iain Warton

Videos

What does multivariate analysis have in common with Rick Astley?