International Training Workshop on "Modern Research Techniques in Ecology

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A five-day international training workshop on "Modern Research Techniques in Ecology" was arranged by Zoological Sciences Division, Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) in collaboration with Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Department of Animal Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad and Snow Leopard Foundation Pakistan on April 16-20. Forty nine candidates were selected from a number of research institutions, provincial Wildlife departments and universities all over Pakistan. This workshop was organized to build capacity of the participants in designing ecological studies and analysis of simple-to-complex ecological data with the help of different statistical models and field techniques. The resource persons were invited from leading national and international research institutions. They were Dr. Richard Bischof, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway; Prof Sandro Lovari from University of Siena, Italy; Dr Tom McCarthy, executive director, Snow Leopard Programs, Panthera, USA, Dr Muhammad Ali Nawaz, Department of Animal Sciences, QAU and Dr Muhammad Rafique, Director, ZSD, PMNH. The event comprised a Symposium after the inaugural session on April 16 and Training Workshop from on April 17-20 at QAU.

The inaugural session was held in Serena Hotel Islamabad on 16th April. The chief guest of the inaugural ceremony was Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, Vice Chancellor, QAU. The inaugural session was followed by symposium entitled "Recent Research Trends in Ecology". The symposium comprised of eight lectures which encompassed different topics that included ecological studies of an elusive cat, animal marking, analysis of camera trap data, trapping of animals for research, habitat assessment and data analysis techniques. Dr. Charudutt Mishra delivered a thought provoking lecture on "Science, society and snow leopards" via Skype live from USA. The symposium was attended by more then one hundred participants belonging to different research institutions of Pakistan.

The training workshop was held at computer laboratories, department of Computer Sciences and central library Quad-i-Azam University, Islamabad. It comprised of eight sessions which included lectures and practical training on the software R; scientific writing and publishing; data exploration, visualization and modeling; tranquilization of large mammals with dart gun; scat analysis and hair sampling; remote camera trapping and radio tracking of wild life. Dr. Richard Bischof delivered lectures on understanding and practical use of ecological data analysis tool R-software. Dr. Martin Fisher delivered a very informative lecture on scientific research paper writing and publishing via Skype directly from UK. Field activity was carried out for practical training on camera trapping, tranquilization, darting and snaring of wild animals in the vicinity of QAU. All the trainees took keen interest in the sessions and asked number of questions to the resource persons for clarity and better understanding.

The closing ceremony was held in PMNH on 20th April 2012 and chaired by Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro, Chairman PSF. Workshop report was presented by Dr. Muhammad Rafique, Director ZSD, PMNH and Technical assessment by Dr Muhammad Ali Nawaz, Department of Animal Sciences, QAU. The chief guest Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro said that PSF would always support in organizing such capacity building opportunity for scientific community. The participants expressed that the opportunity really helped them to extend frontiers of their knowledge and experience by means of learning new tools and techniques to analyze their field data. Vote of thanks was delivered by Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shahab, Chairman Department of Animal Sciences, QAU. At the end shields were presented to resource persons and supporting organizations. All the participants were awarded certificate of participation.

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