Workshop on Collecting and Analyzing Winter Track Data, Mekrijärvi Biological Station

Workshop on Collecting and Analyzing Winter Track Data, Mekrijärvi Biological Station 11. – 13.4.2012

Organizers: Pekka Helle, Pjotr Danilov, Harto Lindén, Juri Kurhinen, Otso Ovaskainen

In this workshop we plan to bring together 25-30 Finnish and Russian experts working with winter track (WT) data. Participation is by invitation only. If you have not received an invitation but feel that your participation would be essential, please email to Juri Kurhinen.

The aim of the workshop is to discuss the following issues.

Building a common database of WT data.

  • Background. The EBFB project has started compiling all available WT data (as well as other types of data) into a common EarthCape database. The database includes currently all Finnish data (1989-2011) and small samples of Russian data. Preliminary discussions on including WT data from many parts of Russia have been started.
  • Aim for the workshop. Participants are expected to bring along data that they already have in digital format so that it can be integrated into the database. We will discuss the possibilities and priorities for extending the database both spatially and temporally, either through local efforts or in a centralized manner.

Comparison and harmonization of methods.

  • Background. The methods of acquiring WT data are highly standardized, but some small variations occur. For example, in Finland the time during which the tracks are accumulated before counting varies between 1-3 days, whereas in Russia it is typically 1 day. A proper analysis of the data, e.g. attempting to infer the true density of animals from the number of tracks counted, calls for a good understanding on how the data are collected.
  • Aim. We will briefly go through the methodological differences between collecting WT data in Finland and Russia and discuss how those differences can be accounted in the analysis phase. In relation to the aim of building the common database, we will also discuss which kinds of data need to included on top of the animal counts. For example, separation of the counts per habitat type, and measurements of the environmental conditions such as snow depth, may provide valuable additional information, but now these variables are not included in all digitized records.

Aims and challenges in the analysis of WT data.

  • Background. WT data have been used for multiple purposes, such as estimating total population sizes (needed e.g. to decide about hunting quota), drawing distribution maps, and in basic scientific works that e.g. aim to find out factors (environmental and human-related) that influence the dynamics of game animals.
  • Aim. We will go through major results obtained from the analysis of WT data thus far, and identify relevant research questions for future work.



1. Viktor Mamontov, 2. Robert Hohlov, 3. Evgeniy Meyke, 4. Alexander Rykov, 5. Konstantin Tirronen, 6. Leon Bljudnik, 7. Viacheslav Kolesnikov, 8. Juri Kurhinen, 9. Evgeny Poroshin, 10. Danila Panchenko, 11. Dmitry Skumatov , 12. Jyrki Pusenius, 13. Nikolai Korytin, 14. Sergei Kochanov, 15. Otso Ovaskainen, 16. Katja Holmala, 17. Marcus Wikman, 18. Harto Linden, 19. Jenni Miettunen. Not in the photo: Jussi Jousimo, Pekka Helle, Ilpo Kojola


Top left: The conference was held in Mekrijärvi biological station
Top right: Sergei Kochanov lecturing about game animal research in Komi.
Bottom: Conference dinner in Sissola restaurant

All photos by Eugene Poroshin