To help attract enthusiastic and talented students to career paths in biometrics, the International Biometric Society Australasian Region (IBS-AR) offers scholarships for suitably qualified students who intend to undertake a fourth or honours year of study, or a coursework Masters, in statistics, mathematical statistics, bio-statistics, bioinformatics or biometrics. Alesha Hatton received the IBS-AR Student Scholarship for 2016, currently completing her honours, jointly supervised by Daniel Tolhurst and Prof. Brian Cullis.

Alesha’s achievement has been published in the latest release of the IBS bulletin (see page 10), which can be found here: Biometric Bulletin.

Alesha’s project

The green sea turtle is currently listed as globally endangered, with juveniles being identified as particularly vulnerable. Whilst advances in population modelling techniques have provided a means of predicting long-term impacts of management actions, accurate parameterization of these models requires adequate knowledge of size-at-age demographics which is deficient for juvenile green sea turtles.

Alesha’s project involves the estimation of age and growth in juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) via means of cubic smoothing splines. These curves are fitted within the mixed model framework to account for correlations between observations that may arise from intrinsic, design and seasonal factors. A simulation study is then conducted as a formal comparison of Alesha’s methods to those of traditional mathematical techniques for modelling growth (i.e. Gompertz, Logistic and Von Bertalanffy equations).