Prof. David Borchers

I'm a statistician at the University of St Andrews, specialising in the development and use of statistical methods to solve problems in ecology: mostly methods of estimating how many individuals are missed when populations are surveyed, and where the missed individuals are.


See links above for more on my Research, PhD Students & Teaching, and Publications. There are also a few Images and Videos relating to my research.  


Postgraduate study in Statistical Ecology?


  • See also here for possible PhD topics (or email me to discuss any topic you are keen on). 

Some Groups I am Currently Working with

Some Current Research Areas


Acoustic Spatial Capture-Recapture Methods:

I am working with Rachel Fewster, Ben Stevenson and Paul van Dam-Bates, to develop "cluster capture-recapture" methods for situations in which capture histories are not known. This situation occurs quite often with acoustic surveys because it is often impossible to identify individuals when they are heard and not seen. With Erica Ye and Yuheng Wang, I am also looking into integrating AI methods for species identification from acoustic surveys, with spatial capture-recapture methods, while Filippo Franchini and I are developing methods for acoustic surveys of gibbons. 

Open-population Spatial Capture-Recapture Models:

Richard Glennie and I formulated open-population spatial capture-recapture as a hidden Markov model (HMM) and, with Rebecca Foster and Bart Harmsen, applied it to their 12-year time series of jaguar camera trap data. The HMM formulation makes for rapid estimation and creates a framework that is readily extendable to include individual-level hidden states, like sex or behavioural states (transient vs resident, for example). Richard wrote an R package openpopscr that implements these methods.