Fundamentals of GIS for ecology, and Species distribution modelling
Presented by Alice Hughes
GIS skills are essential to modern day ecologists. No matter what their specialism ecologists have had to acknowledge that species, and ecological phenomina occur in the real world, and that the relationships exist between environmental factors and other species can only be properly understood by acknowledging the spatial relationships and therefore by using GIS techniques.
Species distribution modeling techniques also represent powerful and popular tools to extrapolate from the known records of a species distribution to predict the potential distribution of a species under various conditions, and better understand factors underlying these distributions.
The workshop sets to:
A). Train students in basic fundamental GIS tools and techniques using a number of different available software programs
B). Teach students how to design and implement studies that utilize GIS techniques, and avoid potentially confounding biases
C). Discuss the use of predictive modeling techniques to spatially project species distributions, using various approaches
D). Use predictive approaches to project species distributions under changing conditions
E). Use various approaches interpret and analyse the results.
The workshop will combine lectures, discussion and short practicals to help students build and understand the use of species distribution models and why it is relevant to them. They will also explicitly reflect on their own study organism and design, so by the end of the workshop they will be able to directly advance their own research.
The following questions would be addressed to:
i. What are species distribution models and what can they do
ii. Designing studies which use GIS and spatially robust designs
iii. Modeling basics: what do we need to do to develop models
iv. Running models of species distributions under different conditions
v. Interpreting models and predictions of species distributions under different scenarios
Information to Participants:
During each part of the workshop students will be asked to reflect on how the approaches can directly be used in their own studies.
All students will receive a digital booklet compiled for the course that provides explanations for all tasks, background theoretical material and suggested further reading..
By the end of the workshops all participants should have the skills to develop and understand GIS and species distribution modeling techniques in their own research.
Participants install software (sent before hand) and undertake simple pre-course task.
Students are also welcome to contact the Dr. Hughes directly to discuss and develop their own studies following the workshop.