Mark Your Calendar for the CANSSI/SSC Cross-Country Tour

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Want to know what your colleagues in Canada’s statistical science community are working on these days? As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC), CANSSI and the SSC have partnered to organize a CANSSI/SSC Cross-Country Tour with short seminars hosted at universities from coast to coast.

Each session will feature a guest speaker talking about their research on Zoom (and in some cases also in person). Sessions will be hosted by Joanna Mills Flemming, Associate Director, CANSSI Atlantic, and Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Dalhousie University.

We hope you’ll be able to grab a cup of coffee and join us!

Up Next

Friday, June 17 | 12:00–12:45 p.m. ADT
University of New Brunswick at Saint John
On Zoom


You Are What You Eat: Advances in Marine Predator Diet Estimation via Fatty Acids

Dr. Connie Stewart, Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, UNB
Hosted by Dr. Joanna Mills Flemming, CANSSI Associate Director, Atlantic Region


Presentation abstract: In marine ecosystems, estimating predator diets can be especially challenging since feeding cannot typically be directly observed. In this context, quantitative fatty acid signature analysis (QFASA) was devised as an indirect method of estimating predator diets and has successfully been applied to a variety of seabird species, marine mammals and fish. The approach estimates the proportion of each prey species in a predator’s diet by matching the predator and prey fatty acid signatures.   

From a statistical methodology and analysis perspective, diet estimation by way of fatty acid data present several challenges, primarily because both the fatty acid signatures and diet estimates represent compositional data, but also due to a variety of practical considerations. In collaboration with biologists at various institutions across Canada, my research has focused on extensions to QFASA, inference procedures for predator diets, and the development of new probabilistic models for diet estimation through fatty signature analysis. In this talk, I will highlight some recent advances and ongoing work in this area.

About Dr. Connie Stewart: Dr. Stewart received her PhD in Statistics from Dalhousie University in 2005 and is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of New Brunswick Saint John.

Dr. Stewart’s main research interest is in the area of compositional data analysis and statistical ecology. Her research involves developing new statistical tools for the analysis of diet estimates obtained via quantitative fatty acid signature analysis, an increasingly popular diet estimation method. She collaborates closely with biologists in Atlantic Canada studying the grey seal population. Dr. Stewart has also contributed to several collaborative research projects with health care professionals in the community.

She has held an NSERC discovery grant since 2008 and regularly supervises undergraduate summer research projects. As a member of the Mathematics and Statistics graduate academic unit, she also supervises/co-supervises MSc and PhD graduate students in Statistics.

Dr. Stewart has been invited to present her research at a variety of national and international venues.

Past Sessions

Friday, May 13, 2022 | 12:00–12:45 p.m. PST
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby campus
On Zoom

Cars, Steaks, and Hurricanes: A Bayesian Approach to Inverse Problems for Random Vectors

Dr. Don Estep, Scientific Director, CANSSI
Hosted by Dr. Joanna Mills Flemming, CANSSI Associate Director, Atlantic Region


Presentation abstract: Scientific inference and engineering design frequently involves the inverse problem of determining information about the state of a complex physical system from observed data of its behaviour. I first encountered this kind of inverse problem in graduate school with somewhat disastrous results. The “after action” analysis of that experience had several consequences for my career, including a sustained effort in the formulation and solution of inverse problems for physics and engineering models. I will give an intuitive description of our Bayesian formulation and solution of inverse problems in the context of cooking steaks and forecasting of hurricane storm surge. I will also talk about extensions of our approach and relation to other Bayesian statistics.

Future Dates

Friday, July 8 | 12:00–12:45 p.m. PST | University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
Title to be announced
Dr. Trevor Campbell, Assistant Professor, Department of Statistics, UBC

Friday, September 30 | 12:00–12:45 p.m. MST | Yukon University, Whitehorse, Yukon
Title to be announced
Dr. Lisa Kanary, Instructor, School of Business and Leadership
Applied Science and Management

Friday, October 14 | 12:00–12:45 p.m. EDT | McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
Title to be announced
Dr. Lehana Thabane, Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact

Friday, November 18 | 12:00–12:45 p.m. EST | Biogen, Montreal, Quebec
Title to be announced
Dr. Gabrielle Simoneau, Senior Principal Biostatistician

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