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Mon, 18 Nov


Casa Morgado Esporão

6th edition of the Species Distributions Modelling course

7-days course will take through all steps involved in building and testing models of species distribution in space and time

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6th edition of the Species Distributions Modelling course
6th edition of the Species Distributions Modelling course

Time & Location

18 Nov 2019, 09:00 – 24 Nov 2019, 17:00

Casa Morgado Esporão, R. de Dona Isabel 6, 7000-880 Évora, Portugal


About the event

Science Retreats and the Biodiversity Chair at the University of Évora are jointly organising the 6th edition of the course “Species distributions models: concepts, methods, applications, and challenges”, which introduces the fundamental concepts underpinning ecological niche models (ENM), describing some of the most prominent methods currently in use, and discussing the strengths and limitations of these models for different applications. The course gives equal weight to theory and application. The students will have the opportunity to learn how to run ENM with the new SDM R platform (Naimi & Araújo 2016 Ecography) and they will be asked to bring their own data (if such data are not available we can provide our own data). During one day the students will analyse their data and prepare a small report for discussion in the class. The proposed course is the fifth after a first edition conducted at the Imperial College London (2014) and the following editions at University of Évora (2015, 2016, 2017). It also builds on slightly shorter courses developed by Miguel Araújo at the University of Copenhagen and the Estación Biologica de Doñana (CSIC).

Course Objectives

In the end of the course, our aim is that students will be equipped to:

1. Understand the theoretical underpinnings of ecological niche models

2. Understand the strengths and limitations of ecological niche models in the context of different uses

3. Be able to correctly design an ecological niche modelling study for a variety of uses

4. Get started with ecological niche modelling using SDM R.

Course length and ECTS

The course includes 56 hours on-site, including breaks. The course is equivalent to 5,6 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System), assuming the rule of 10:1, which means that 1 course lesson (=1 hour) gives 0.1 ECTS credits, taking a preparation factor of 1.5. Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate of participation at the end of it.


Some experience in the computer language R is desirable, and experience with GIS is helpful. All participants must bring their own personal laptop.




The course accepts a maximum of 25 students.

Fees and funding

The fees include full participation in the course and course material, provision of a certificate of attendance, half-board accommodation at Casa Morgado Esporão for up to 6 nights including breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks (offering assortment of coffees, teas, fruit juices and cookies).

Unfortunately we have no scholarships on offer. We do offer early bird discounts (before the 30th of June) and shared accommodation is provided for those with more limited budgets. 

Cancelation policy

If you wish to cancel your participation in this course, cancellations up to 60 days before the course start date will incur a 40% cancellation fee. For later cancellations, or non-attendance, the full course fee will be charged.

In the unlikely event that the course is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, accepted candidates will either be entitled to a full refund of the course fee, or the fee can be credited toward a future course. The organisation is not responsible for travel costs, or any other expenses incurred by the candidate as a result of such cancellation. Every effort will be made

to avoid the cancellation of the planned course.


The course fee include full participation in the course, provision of course material (including pdfs of all lectures, and R tutorials), the certificate of participation, half-board accommodation at Casa Morgado Esporão for up to as well as daily coffee breaks (offering assortment of coffees, teas, fruit juices and cookies).


For any additional informations about the course, please contact us at "scienceretreats" "at" "gmail" "dot" "com".

Course Tutors

Miguel Araújo is a Research Professor of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and visiting Professor at the Universities of Évora and Copenhagen. Previously, he held faculty or research positions at the Imperial College London, the University of Oxford, the CNRS, and the Natural History Museum in London. He was recently elected Editor-in-Chief of Ecography. Miguel Araújo has a wide range of interests in biogeography, conservation planning, global change biology, and macroecology. Earlier work included the development of reserve-selection techniques that minimise species extinctions within reserves. More recently, a variety of types of species distributions models have been used to investigate impacts of climate change on species distributions. The goal is to better understand the sources of uncertainty in models and to propose alternative approaches to reduce them. He was lead author for section on the biodiversity and climate change in Europe in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for which the IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize. Miguel Araújo is a highly cited author (2015, 2014) and recipient of the King James I Prize (2016) and the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2014). He also received the IBS (International Biogeography Society) MacArthur & Wilson Award (2013), given to an individual ‘for notable, innovative contributions to biogeography at an early stage in their career’, and the GIBIF (Global Information Biodiversity Facility) 2013 Ebbe Nielsen Prize awarded to researchers that “combine biosystematics and biodiversity informatics in an exciting and novel way”

Babak Naimi is a Research Associate at the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark within the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate. His research interests revolve around spatiotemporal statistics, environmental modelling, and the interface between geo-informatics and biogeography. He is currently working on developing new methods for species distribution modelling under climate change and land use change scenarios to improve their ability for understanding ecological processes associated with the patterns in species distributions as well as to deal with the challenges in the methods.


  • Early bird & shared occupancy

    First four registrations made in shared occupancy. Shared apartment with other participant is assumed.

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  • early bird & single occupancy

    First two registrations for single occupancy. Single occupancy of double room, studio or 1-bed room apartment assumed.

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  • standard & shared occupancy

    Shared apartment with other participant is assumed.

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  • Standard & single occupancy

    Single occupancy of double room, studio or apartment assumed.

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