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Environmental Statistics

The environmental statistics section celebrates applications of statistics in the environmental sciences, including ecology, climate sciences, the earth sciences and what not.  There has been a long tradition in Australian statistics of making methodological contributions motivated by problems in the environmental sciences, and we are keen to continue this tradition, as well as hearing about funky applications.

This section is a focal point for Australian statisticians with interests in environmental statistics, and we keep section members informed of upcoming events, as well as organising a few of our own, especially around the national conference.

Tjanpi award for Best Student Paper in Environmental Statistics

The Tjanpi Award is an annual student prize we award for the best student paper in environmental statistics.  To be eligible a student must be:

  • An author of a paper that has been accepted in the previous 12 months, having made a substantial contribution to the work
  • A student as of June 30 of the year of award
  • A current member of the SSA and the Environmental Statistics Section

The winner will receive a cash prize and will be asked to present in an invited session on environmental statistics at the next annual stats conference.

2022 Tjanpi Award: nominations now open

Please submit your nominations to, with Tjanpi Award submission in the header, by 5 PM ADST Thursday December 8th 2022, including:

  • Full name, institution
  • Paper, as one pdf file.
  • Letter of support from supervisor or other academic at the institution, confirming student status of applicant and describing the student's role in the paper.

Tjanpi is the Pitjantjatjara word for Triodia, a spiny tussock-forming grass that dominates the vegetation across more than 20% of Australia’s land mass.  It is a long-lived plant that makes deep roots and can withstand the hardiest of conditions.  It can grow over decades into characteristic ring formations three metres in diameter.  As a source of food and shelter, Tjanpi is fundamental to life in some of Australia’s most extreme conditions, being central to highly diverse ecosystems dominated by termites and ants, as well as reptiles, birds and small mammals.  It has also been traditionally used by Indigenous people for a range of purposes, including building shelters, making an adhesive resin, basket weaving, fishing and using its seeds as a food source. 

Tjanpi is an analogy for the Environmental Statistics student award – because the development and application of appropriate statistical techniques is fundamental to good environmental research, and our hope is that the recipient of this award will grow over the coming decades to become central to a diverse range of interesting research endeavours!

Past winners:

2021: Quan Vu (Wollongong) for his paper in Statistica Sinica (honorary mention: Md Javad Davoudabadi)

Seminar series

We organise a seminar series in environmental statistics, roughly four per year, where we invite an international speaker to a virtual SSA visit where they present to us on their recent research and take some time to meet interested parties virtually.  The seminars are typically scheduled on a Friday between 10am and 4pm Sydney/Melbourne/Hobart time, the precise time depending on the speaker’s availability.  Speakers are available before and after their talk for an hour or so to meet SSA researchers, a sign-up sheet will be distributed in the leadup to each talk.

Do you have any suggestions for international speakers you would really like to hear from?  Let us know by emailing David Warton



James Thorson (NOAA Seattle) - Forecasting nonlocal climate impacts for mobile marine species using extensions to empirical orthogonal function analysis.

Matthew Schofield (University of Otago) - Inferring genetic linkage maps from high-throughput sequencing data.

Erin Schliep (U Missouri) – Bayesian hierarchical modeling and data fusion for multivariate speciated nitrogen in lakes.

Jun Zhu (University of Wisconsin-Madison) – Change-set analysis for spatial clustering in environmental health.

Subhash Lele (University of Alabama) – TBA

David Wilkinson (University of Melbourne) - The statistical quandaries of an ecologist: Applied and theoretical statistics for conservation

Jacinta Holloway-Brown (University of Adelaide) - Stochastic spatial random forest for detecting remotely sensed forest cover change despite missing data


  • David Warton (Chair, UNSW)
  • Joanne Potts (The Analytical Edge)
  • Andrew Zammit-Mangion (Wollongong)
  • Dan Mackinlay (Data61)

Related Societies

§  The International Biometrics Society (Australasian Region)

§  The International Environmetrics Society (TIES)

§  American Statistical Association Section on Statistics and the Environment

§  Royal Statistical Society Environmental Statistics Section


§  Environmetrics (Official Journal of TIES)

§  Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics

§  Environmental and Ecological Statistics

§  Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Conferences / Meetings

    §  International Environmetrics Society (TIES) Conference

    §  International Statistical Ecology Conference

    To join the Environmental section and mailing list please log into your membership profile and tick the relevant box. 

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