Workshop CLOSED: Ivory Identification Workshop- Full day Sunday, 30 October and Monday, 31 October

Presenters: Ed Espinoza, Barry Baker and Ashley Spicer

This workshop will teach the attendees how to identify the taxonomic source of an ivory object or tusk using morphological analysis. It will cover the major taxa in the ivory trade including elephants and mammoth, walrus, hippopotamus, whale and narwhal, warthog and pigs, and synthetic materials that resemble ivory.

The 2-day workshop will consist of a one ½-day training which will include lectures and practical examination of hundreds of ivory objects.  The last ½ day will consist of a practical proficiency test of three items. Upon successful completion, attendees will receive a SWFS certificate of competency on ivory identification.

The workshop will be limited to 30 participants.

Materials that will be provided:

  • A handheld UV light
  • A protractor
  • Book “Identification Guide For Ivory and Ivory Substitutes”
Cost: $250 USD without Proficiency test/ $450 USD with Proficiency test

Feather Identification Workshop- 1/2 day Monday, 31 October (13:00-17:00)

Presenters: Ariel Woodward

This workshop is an introduction to macroscopic feather identification for wildlife forensics.  We will focus first on characters useful for distinguishing major groups, including waterfowl (Anseriformes), gamebirds (Galliformes), raptors (Accipitriformes), owls (Strigiformes), and parrots (Psittaciformes).  Knowledge of these characters allows quick recognition of the feathers of non-protected birds such as domestic chickens and ducks, and is very helpful when screening evidence.

We will then focus on species-diagnostic characters for species of particular significance in law enforcement, including both commonly-encountered “legal species” (e.g., chicken, turkey, Ring-necked Pheasant, Reeve’s Pheasant) and protected species (e.g. Bald and Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawk, Great Horned Owl, and the macaws).  Examples of the feathers of all these birds will be available for examination.

Cost: $60 USD

Report Writing Roundtable- 2 hours Tuesday, 1 November (15:00-17:00)

Presenters: Kathy Moore, Kim Frazier, Mary Burnham Curtis  and Greta Frankham

Based on membership feedback, the SWFS Technical Working Group (TWG) is hosting an informal report writing roundtable. We will start by going over the US American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Academy Standards Board (ASB) Standard on Report Writing in Wildlife Forensics: Morphology and Genetics and a summary of reporting statements gathered by the TWG. Afterwards, we’d like to hear from both new and experienced practitioners from any jurisdiction around the world. Please send us questions and example reports ahead of time to help us prepare, and/or bring your difficult report wording questions for discussion. This workshop is a great opportunity for brainstorming and making connections for future discussions.

Send questions/report examples to

Cost: Free (you still need to register for the roundtable)

Validation & Application of STR Panels Workshop- Full day Tuesday, 1 November (8:00-17:00)

Presenters: Brian Hamlin and Erin Meredith

**Discussion of Method Development and Validation will have global application and not be limited to NA species.

The STR Panels OdoPlex and UrsaPlex will be the focus. STR marker selection, screening, multiplex optimization, validation, allelic ladder development, population genetic analysis, species identification, geographic assignment, databases, inbreeding coefficient estimates, including match probability and likelihood ratio calculations will be discussed.

Validation of the OdoPlex and UrsaPlex STR Panels, including a discussion of Best Practices recommended by SWFS Standards & Guidelines for wildlife forensic analysis, the ISFG recommendations for non-human (animal) DNA in forensic genetic investigations, and USA based SWGDAM, Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods, Validation Guidelines for DNA Analysis Methods.

OdoPlex: An STR multiplex panel optimized and validated for forensic identification and sex determination of North American mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

UrsaPlex: An STR multiplex for forensic identification of North American black bear (Ursus americanus)

Workshop to include discussion and exercises relevant to practitioners conducting casework involving deer of the genus Odocoileus and bears of the genus Ursus in North America (NA). Methods for species-level assignment and calculation of single-source likelihood ratios will be covered.

Relevant to analysts who wish to or currently participate in the current SWFS proficiency testing scheme for mammals; which includes NA white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (O. hemionus), NA Black bear (Ursus americanus), and NA elk (Cervus canadensis).

**Interested in a collaborative effort to develop range-wide STR and mtDNA control region databases for deer of the genus Odocoileus? Contact or for more information**

Cost: $100 USD

Workshop CLOSED: Timber Identification Workshop-Full day Tuesday, 1 November (8:00-17:00)

Presenters: Ed Espinoza and Erin Price

This workshop will be focused on the use of DART TOFMS of the analysis of flora evidence, primarily timber, but will also include examples of flora derived evidence (i.e., resins, regulated plants, timber, etc.). The workshop will include guidance using a step by step procedure to produce hierarchical cluster analyses graphs, and discuss statistical quagmires of  chemotype interpretation. 

Cost: $100 USD