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What You'll Study
  • Selecting the appropriate analytical framework for achieving your research objectives
  • Importing data into computer programs in the appropriate format
  • Calculating animal density and occupancy with camera trapping data, using covariates, model selection, and testing of model fit
  • Identifying advanced analytical techniques and understanding when to use them
  • Troubleshooting field studies during stages of design, data collection, and data import for both density and occupancy estimation projects
  • Comparing available options for managing and organizing camera trapping data

Participants must have a basic familiarity with working in R for data management or statistical computing.

Detailed Curriculum
Program Details

June 7-18, 2021 (cancelled, dates for 2022 coming soon)

Available Formats

Graduate (CONS 697, 3 credits)
Professional Training (SMSC 0524, 7.2 CEUs)


GraduateSee Mason’s graduate tuition rates

Professional Training: $3,203*

*Professionals from certain countries are eligible for a reduced rate of $2276.00 which will automatically be reflected during the registration process.


Apply by March 29, 2021 (for first consideration)
Payment Due By April 12, 2021

Meet the Faculty

Chris Sutherland
Assistant Professor
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Chris works at the interface of applied, spatial, and quantitative ecology, with a focus on development and application of ecologically realistic statistical models for observational data regularly collected in monitoring studies.
Jim Nichols
Wildlife Biologist
Jim's research focuses on methods for obtaining inferences about ecological populations and communities. He is also interested in application of decision-theoretic ideas to ecological management and conservation.
Jim Hines
Computer Specialist
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Jim develops and maintains software widely used across the globe, including programs CAPTURE, PRESENCE, JOLLY, SPECRICH, DOBSERV, and others. He has published over 150 scientific articles and has received several awards from the USGS.
Joe Kolowski
Joe Kolowski
Research Ecologist and Grad/Professional Training Manager
Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
Joe Kolowski manages the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation’s graduate- and professional-level capacity building programs. His passion for conservation and applied research spawned an enthusiasm for the integration of research with effective conservation education and training. 
Dan Linden
NOAA Fisheries
Dan is a statistician, primarily working with fisheries data, for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. His work involves statistical modeling of wildlife populations for conservation and management, with an emphasis on hierarchical models.
Andy Royle
Research Statistician
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Dr. Royle's research focuses on the application of probability and statistics to ecological problems, especially those related to animal sampling and demographic modeling. His recent research has been devoted to the development of spatially explicit capture-recapture models as applied to camera trapping and DNA sampling in animal population studies.


Graph showing density plots on a map
This graph from a population study shows the estimated density of tigers on a map area using data collected from camera traps.

This course provides a strong theoretical and analytical background in the use of camera traps to address ecological and conservation-oriented questions. You’ll learn the latest statistical tools for estimating animal density through spatially explicit mark-recapture (SECR) methods as well as estimating species occupancy. Significant time will focus on best practices for designing studies that use those methods.

Detailed Curriculum

What’s Included

Acceptance does not guarantee you a seat in the course. Seats are allocated as registration payments are received, and early registration is strongly encouraged to ensure you get a spot.

The total cost includes our Housing ($624.00) and Dining ($416.00) Packages and covers:

  • Registration fees
  • Instruction, course manual, and other course materials
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off shuttle service at Dulles International Airport (IAD) at pre-determined times. We do not provide ground transportation shuttle service to or from any other airports in the Washington, DC, region.
  • Transportation for course activities
  • Daily full-service buffet at the SMSC Dining Commons
  • Housing at the SMSC Residential Facility, including a shared room with bathroom (single rooms available at extra cost)

Interested in Commuting?

Participants with a documented, permanent address local to campus may elect to commute with permission from SMSC. Commuters are required to purchase a reduced meal plan ($132.00) which includes lunch and snack breaks for each day of instruction. Additional dining options are available and may be selected during registration.  Email for additional information.

“The fact that the instructors are experts in the field is a huge advantage to attending this course. This was honestly the best two weeks of my academic career. I learned more in two weeks than I ever thought possible.”

2018 Camera Trapping Course Participant

“If you want to gain practical experience on cutting-edge theory and applications for wildlife ecology and conservation research, the suite of courses offered by SMSC are going to be great additions to your tool-box, and Camera Trapping Study Design and Data Analysis is definitely one of them!”

Juan Andrés Martínez Lanfranco PhD Student, University of Alberta
Take the next step toward a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity