Aims / Scope


The Center for Statistical Ecology and Environmental Statistics is a unit in the Department of Statistics of the Pennsylvania State University and was initiated under a cooperative agreement between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Pennsylvania State University. The Center is the first of its kind in the nation and in the world, and enjoys national and international reputation.

In collaboration with interested agencies, institutions, and projects, the Center has an ongoing program of research that integrates statistics, ecology, and the environment. The emphasis is on individual and collaborative research, training, and exposition on improving the quantification and communication of man's impact on the environment. Major interest also lies in statistical investigations of the impact of the environment on man.

Interested graduate students participate in the Center as graduate research assistants and as interns at the Center and sometimes at the collaborating agency sites. The students benefit from the ongoing miniseminars on individual collaborative research between interested university faculty and visiting scientists. These involvements usually lead to Ph.D. dissertations and Masters term papers for students registered in statistics and related programs in environmental sciences. Sometimes they lead to more theoretical or more substantive investigations.

Broad research areas of the Center relate to statistical ecology, environmental statistics, and quantitative risk analysis, with emphasis on mathematical statistics, statistical methodology, and data interpretation and improvement for future use. The adopted approach is to advance statistics for environment, ecology, and environmental health, and to advance environmental and ecological theory and practice using valid statistics.

Current research projects and activities include advanced raster map analysis, geospatial statistics, geographic information systems and remote sensing, accuracy assessment and change detection using remote sensing data,   innovative sampling and observational economy, ecological sampling and analysis, environmental monitoring and assessment, integration of environmental data and information, biodiversity measurement and comparison, and superfund site characterization and evaluation under cooperative research agreements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Science Foundation.

The Center also serves as the headquarters of a novel cross-disciplinary journal, Environmental and Ecological Statistics, published by Springer with Professor G. P. Patil as its founding editor-in-chief.