Mr David Ka En Chan

MSc with First Class Honours in Statistics (University of Auckland); BMus, BSc, and BSc (Hons) (University of Auckland)

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


David joined the Department of Statistics as a PhD student in November 2018, under the supervision of Dr Ben Stevenson and Professor Rachel Fewster. He previously completed a BSc and BMus conjoint in statistics and music composition, a BSc (Hons) in statistics (first class), and an MSc in statistics (first class). He had done occasional research work for the ABI's Pelvic Floor Research Group.

Research | Current

Advancing spatial capture-recapture methods for acoustic surveys

Some animal species are difficult to sight or catch, but produce calls that are easy for surveyors to hear or for acoustic detectors to record. Hence it is easier to survey the animal calls rather than the animals themselves. This is known as an acoustic survey and it is becoming a popular way to monitor these species, with cetaceans being a prime example.

Animal density—the number of animals per unit time per unit area—is used for understanding an animal species’ distribution over space and time. Spatial capture-recapture (SCR) is one method that estimates animal density. Estimating animal density from acoustic survey data is not trivial, although SCR models show promise.

I will look at two areas to advance SCR methods for acoustic surveys. First is assessing SCR’s call density estimates because call density is commonly used as a proxy for animal density. The results show that SCR inference is consistent with the wider literature. Second is to improve a novel SCR method for estimating animal density with only a single acoustic survey. The improvements will focus on accounting for animal species which move between calls.

Teaching | Current

Teaching Assistant

  • STATS 125: Probability and its Applications
  • STATS 201/208: Data Analysis

Postgraduate supervision

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 395
New Zealand

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