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AMNH Training Workshop: Species Distribution Modeling

COURSE DATES: October 3 - 7, 2011

The American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation runs a week-long workshop on Species Distribution Modeling.

The applications period for the October, 2011 course has now closed..

Models that predict species' potential distributions by combining observed occurrence records with digital data layers of environmental variables have great potential for application across a range of biogeographical analyses. Applications include guiding field surveys to detect unknown populations, projecting potential impacts of climate change, predicting species' invasions, supporting reserve planning, and investigating niche evolution. The workshop focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of this approach (sometimes termed 'ecological niche' or 'bioclimate envelope' modeling) and is designed for students, researchers and practitioners of conservation biology. Using a mixture of lectures, hands-on computer lab applications, discussions, and case studies, participants will learn to:
  • Obtain and process data necessary for species distribution modeling;
  • Run distribution models using a variety of approaches;
  • Validate and interpret model results;
  • Apply these techniques to a range of applications.
Each participant is encouraged to develop an idea for a project they would like to work on during the week, so techniques learned can immediately be applied to an example of interest. These projects can be discussed with the workshop organizers in advance to ensure they are appropriate.

Places at the workshop are limited to 15 and each participant is assigned a desktop computer for the week.

COURSE LOCATION: This workshop is offered at the American Museum of Natural History's Southwestern Research Station in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona. The Station is located at 5,400 ft in riparian habitat, surrounded by oak-juniper-pinyon pine woodlands. The local region is of considerable biogeographical interest and the Research Station provides a pleasant retreat for the course.

INSTRUCTORS: The workshop will be led by Richard Pearson (AMNH) and Steven Phillips (AT&T).

COURSE FEE: There is a workshop fee of $1,100 for each participant, which includes accommodation and meals for the week. Participants need to provide their own transportation to and from the Research Station. Unfortunately, scholarship funds to defray workshop expenses are not available.

APPLICATION: Places at the workshop are limited to 15 and previous workshops have been significantly oversubscribed (this is the 9th time the workshop will be run). Those interested in participating in the workshop should send an application with the following information: name, contact details, current position (student, academia, government, etc.), and a brief statement (maximum one side of paper) on why you want to take the course, what prior modeling or GIS experience you have (if any), and what project you would like to work on during the week. Applications with a strong project idea will be given priority.

Applications will be acknowledged on receipt and you will be notified if a place is available by May 13, 2011. Payment of the workshop fee for those offered a place will be required by July 1st 2011 *.

* Cancellation policy: no refunds will be available unless we are able to fill the cancelled place at late notice. If a replacement is found, then $800 will be returned.

ADDITIONAL COURSES: The course, Practical Remote Sensing Methods for Conservation Biologists also takes place at the same location. Dates for the next course are still to be determined.


RESOURSES:

Guide to species distribution modeling
Instructions for individual projects
Information on practicalities, including travel to the Research Station
Program from the course in March 2010