Cutting-Edge Research Led by Trent Biology Professor to be Showcased in Sweden


Dr. Dennis Murray to Lead Five Day Course on Survival Analysis at Grimsö Wildlife Research Station August 24-28

Monday, August 17, 2009, Peterborough

Recognized as one of the leading experts in animal survival analysis, Dr. Dennis Murray, Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Terrestrial Ecology and associate professor in Biology at Trent University, has been invited to deliver a five-day course for graduate students and senior researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at the renowned Grimsö Wildlife Research Station. 
The course, which runs from August 24 to 28, will provide participants with a detailed background on modern survival analysis methods that can then be applied to participant’s own research studies. Ultimately, Professor Murray hopes to adapt his course to web-based delivery and have it serve as the primary course in ecological survival analysis in the world.     

Prof. Murray has long been interested in patterns of survival and mortality in the animal populations which he studies. He is particularly interested in the role of predators and parasites in animal mortality, and understanding the factors that increase an animal’s risk of death from predation or parasitism. These are complex problems requiring an intimate understanding of when an animal dies, what is its cause of death, and what factors lead to the mortality. Obtaining the information required to answer such questions is especially challenging for free-ranging animals living in natural environments but of significant importance to the conservation and management of wildlife populations.

Until recently, ecologists tended not to address questions related to animal death in a manner that was as rigorous as that used by scientists in the medical or social sciences.  Professor Murray is part of a group of researchers seeking to change that pattern, and is attempting, along with his students, to adapt methods more commonly used by epidemiologists to track patterns of survival and mortality in animal populations. To date, Prof. Murray has employed these methods in as divergent scenarios as assessing patterns of nest mortality in turtles and understanding why some wolves are more susceptible to human-caused mortality than others. Prof. Murray feels that these methods hold promise for addressing a number of relevant and complex questions in ecology.

Grimsö Wildlife Research Station was founded in 1974 as an ecological research station. In 1992, Grimsö became a section of the Department of Conservation Biology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU .Research at Grimsö is focused on wildlife, landscape and conservation biology.  Research objectives vary from basic research to applied management questions. They apply and distribute new ecological information to increase the possibility of preserving biological diversity and a sustainable utilization of wildlife and forest resources.


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Dennis Murray, Canada Research Chair in Terrestrial Ecology, Associate Professor, Biology Department, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x7078