Distance Sampling Surveys of Population Size: Enabling Better Decision-Making by Wildlife Managers
Reliable estimates of the size of natural populations are required by national and regional governments for management and conservation, by international commissions that manage natural resources, and by NGOs. Distance sampling, in which distances of detected animals from a set of randomly located lines or points are recorded, is the most widely-applicable technique for obtaining such estimates. Almost all users of distance sampling methods use software and methods developed at St Andrews. Software Distance  is the industry standard and has over 30,000 registered users from around 115 countries. The methodological developments and associated software have allowed better-informed decisions to be made in the management and conservation of populations as diverse as whales, seals, fish, elephants, apes, deer, birds, ants, trees and flowering plants.
Organisations sponsoring software (Distance) development include EPSRC, BBSRC, US Office of Naval Research, US Navy Living Marine Resources program, US National Park Service, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.