Training School Introduction to Species Distribution Modelling



Date: 8-10 September 2021 

Place: on-line

Training School leaders: Koenraad Van Meerbeek, Stef Haesen, Peter Glasnovic, Tobias Fremout and Olav Skarpaas



This online training school was prepared within the framework of ConservePlants COST Action (CA18201) and aimed at training Early Career Researchers in the fundamental concepts underpinning species distribution models. The aim of online course was to work towards a thorough understanding of SDMs. We focused on statistical models of species distributions – those that combine observed species records with environmental data. Using a mixture of online lectures, Q&A sessions and case studies, participants were able to: 

  • understand the theoretical underpinnings of SDMs, including strengths and limitations; 
  • get insight in the different steps that are necessary to perform SDM; 
  • know which data are necessary to perform SDM and where to get it; 
  • understand the differences between different modelling types; 
  • learn to evaluate models and interpret them; 
  • and apply the theory in simple case studies in R. 

The applications used the free statistical software R and example data were provided. 

This course was the first of two modules and focused on theory and concepts. This first module was held online and wis designed for PhD students and Early Career Researchers, interested in using SDMs to model species ranges and predict the impact of climate change. In the second module (which will be organized later), we will deal with more advanced topics of SDM and we will focus on the practical implementation in R.