An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment

Training Course – An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment, Glasgow, 31st July – 1st August 2019

Immediately following our introductory GIS Course on 29th and 30th July 2019, GIS In Ecology will be holding an introductory training course on the practical application of species distribution modelling (SDM) in the marine environment in Glasgow on the 31st of July to 1st August 2019. It will be taught by Dr. Colin D. MacLeod, the author of An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology (Pictish Beast Publications) and a renowned expert in using species distribution modelling in the marine environment. It is aimed at those who want to learn how to integrate GIS into their species distribution modelling projects. The course assumes that you have at least a basic knowledge of GIS, and is not aimed at complete beginners (if you are a complete beginner, you can attend our introductory GIS course which will be held immediately prior to this course).

Species distribution modelling (also known as habitat modelling, predictive habitat modelling, ecological niche modelling, habitat suitability modelling and essential habitat modelling) is becoming increasingly widely used in marine biology. This course aims to provide an introduction to the concept and practical application of species distribution modelling (SDM) in the marine environment, and how to integrate species distribution modelling with GIS. This includes selection of environmental variables, the creation of raster data layers of environmental variables in a GIS-based environment, processing survey data in GIS, creating spatial visualisations and predictions from SDMs, and validating the predictive ability of SDMs. The practical sessions will involve working through a complete SDM project using an existing data set from start to finish, including creating an SDM using Generalised Additive Modelling (GAM). This means you do not need have your own data to attend. The practical sessions will be conducted in QGIS (our recommended option) or ArcGIS, and R (but no prior experience with R is required).

When you attend this course you will receive a free copy of An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology: Supplementary Workbook Three – Integrating GIS And Species Distribution Modelling as the practical exercises in that course are based on the ones contained in that book.

Attendance will be limited to a maximum of 16 people. The course will cost GBP 295 per person (with a discounted rate of GBP 200 for students, the unwaged and those working for registered charities). To book a place, click on the button below to pay the course fees with a credit/debit card. For more information, or if you would prefer to pay using another method (such as a bank transfer), contact info@GISinEcology.com. If you would also like to book a place on our introductory GIS course for biologists that will be held at the same venue immediately prior to this species distribution modelling course, you can do so here.

Please Note:If you choose to pay using the button below, please do not make any travel arrangements until you have received an email from us confirming your booking for a specific course (this may take a couple of days, depending on how busy we are).


Fee Options



At the end of the course, all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and completion. Each certificate is embossed with the GIS In Ecology official stamp to prevent its fraudulent reproduction. In addition, each certificate has its own unique identification number that we will record, along with your name, meaning that we can verify the authenticity of the certificates we issue (and the course you have completed) on request.

Please Note: While some statistical analysis will be conducted during this course, this is not statistical training course. Instead, its aim is to teach about all the other aspects associated with conducting a species distribution modelling project, from data collection through to visualising and validating the predictive ability of an SDM. This is because learning how to do statistical analyses correctly requires an entire course of its own. In addition, these subjects are not usually covered when learning about statistical modelling, but are just as essential if an SDM project is to be successfully completed.

To attend this course, you must bring your own laptop computer with an appropriate GIS software package installed on it. This can either be the freely available QGIS software (our recommended option) or the commercially available ArcGIS software. For those wishing to use QGIS, you will need to download and install QGIS 2.8.3 (for those using Windows computers) or 2.8.4 (for those using Macs) rather than the latest version. The best way to download the correct version of QGIS for this course is to use the links on our GIS For Biologists webpage, which can be found here. If you wish to use ArcGIS software, you will need to have a fully licensed copy of it. This can be any version between ArcGIS 9.3 and ArcGIS 10.4 (with the preferred version being 10.3). You will also need a separate licence for the ArGIS Spatial Analyst extension. You can find information about how to get this software package by clicking here.

In addition, you will also need to have spreadsheet software, such as Excel, on your computer. Finally, you will also need a working copy of the free statistical software package called R. This can be downloaded from here.

Glasgow has great transport links and is within half a days travel by car or by fast train links from most cities in the UK. For example, it can be reached in as little as 4h 30mins from London by train. It can also be reached by direct flights from many European cities and the flight time is generally under four hours.

The course will be held in central Glasgow at the Mackintosh at the Willow, 215 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3EX, UK.

Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets. Information on hotels in Glasgow can be found here and while information on hostels can be found here. As a general rule, if you can find accommodation near the venue or one of Glasgows Subway stations (click here to see where these stations are located), you will be able to get to the venue very easily.