Professor Paul G. Blackwell — home page

Welcome to the home page of Professor Paul Blackwell, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sheffield.

Research

I am a statistician and modeller, with a background in mathematics. My main research is currently in Bayesian statistics, particularly in ecology and environmental science. Much of that work involves developing methods to enable inference for stochastic processes. I have worked on ecological and environmental applications throughout my career, as well as on general methodology and on some other applications. I am particularly interested in Bayesian inference for spatio-temporal or other complex models - often requiring computer-intensive simulation-based techniques such as Markov chain Monte Carlo - and in modelling and simulation in ecology generally. Specific examples include continuous-time modelling of wildlife movement, spatial patterns of biodiversity, inference for individual-based population models, automated counting and uncertainty analysis for annual layers in ice cores, and using ecological models to incorporate prior information in analysis of remote sensing data. I have collaborative links with the Marine Spatial Ecology Lab (Queensland), British Antarctic Survey, the Animal and Plant Health Agency as well as the Department of Animal & Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield. I am involved in the EPSRC/NERC-funded National Centre for Statistical Ecology and the NERC/Defra-funded Marine Ecosystems Research Programme, as well as the doctoral training partnership ACCE funded by NERC and the Leverhulme Centre for Advanced Biological Modelling.

Research group

My current research group is:

Dr Mike Spence, NERC-Defra Marine Ecosystems Research Programme post-doc, Bayesian inference for multi-model ensembles

Dr Weixuan Zhu, Leverhulme Trust post-doc, Bayesian inference for physiologically-structured population models (joint project with Dr Dylan Childs and Professor Mark Rees, Dept of Animal and Plant Sciences)

Alison Parton, University of Sheffield-funded PhD student, Bayesian inference for continuous-time step-and-turn movement models

Chris Griffiths, ACCE NERC DTP PhD student, Linking movement and population dynamics for marine fish (co-supervisor Julia Blanchard, Institute of Marine & Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)

Alun Jones, ACCE NERC DTP PhD student, Global trends in marine biodiversity from unstructured data (lead supervisor Tom Webb, Dept of Animal and Plant Sciences)

Hajar Alkhezi, Kuwait University-funded PhD student, Bayesian inference for heterogeneous continuous-time movement models

Hayley Bannister, University of Sheffield-Cefas PhD student Making ecosystem models work for marine environmental policy (lead supervisor Tom Webb, Dept of Animal and Plant Sciences)

Federico Ghiazza, Leverhulme CABM PhD student, Using otolith data to calibrate Integral Projection Models for exploited marine fish populations (lead supervisor Dylan Childs, Dept of Animal and Plant Sciences)

Théo Michelot, Leverhulme CABM PhD student, Bayesian inference for continuous-time movement models (co-supervisor Dylan Childs, Dept of Animal and Plant Sciences)

Prospective PhD students

I am currently offering two PhD projects to start in Sept 2017. Both involve developing stochastic models and Bayesian statistical methods for interpreting telemetry (e.g. GPS) data from multiple animals tracked simultaneously, though the applications differ. Both will be based in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield.

The first, part of the NERC-funded ACCE doctoral training partnership, is a joint project with Dr Jon Pitchford (University of York) and Dr Mark Lambert (National Wildlife Management Centre); it will involve periods spent working at the NWMC, near York, on data from UK wildlife. Closing date for applications is 9th Jan 2017; for details and to apply, see ACCE or FindAPhD.

The second, part of the Leverhulme Centre for Advanced Biological Modelling (LCABM), is a joint project with Dr Anna Skarin (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences); it will involve looking at data from wildlife moving in large herds, including reindeer. Closing date for applications is 23rd Jan 2017; for details and to apply, see FindAPhD.

Contact

Email: p.blackwell (at) sheffield.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 114 2223719

Office: Room I7, Hicks Building

For fax, postal address and directions/maps, please see SoMaS contact details