NSCPHD1211 Modelling species distributions under climate change

Volume 2016/2017


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Course description, incl.:

  • Subject area: Ecology, evolution, global change biology, impacts of climate change
  • Scientific content

Understanding species distributions is a core topic in ecology, evolutionary biology, conservation and global change biology and Species Distribution Models, SDMs, are a key tool for forecasting species distribution due to climate change. This PhD course will cover ecological and evolutionary theory on species distributions and species niches, methodological issues, training in SDM software, and applications of SDMs to a broad range of questions from global change to phylogeography and phylogenetics. The course will encompass lectures, computer practical and seminars based on paper discussions. The students will read, before attending, a compendium with original research papers representing landmark studies. Each student will be required to prepare for the course by reading a specified background literature (~30 papers).

The last five hours of the course will be devoted to report the results of the modeling exercises and to put them in the context of the theories and methods learnt during the course. This session will be organized as a scientific workshop in which students (after a formal presentation of their results using powerpoint and projector) will discuss about their findings with the other students and with the panel of teachers. 

During the course all students are expected to participate in paper discussions and practical, and to attend to the lectures. Full attendance of the entire PhD course, preparation through background reading, and pro-active participation in seminars and practical are required to obtain the 4 ECTS.

Learning Outcome
  • Learning outcome

Students will gain knowledge on 1) theories and hypothesis that relates climate and distribution of species and how these relationship might change under future climate change; 2) formal knowledge about the main methodological and statistical approaches relating climate and the distribution of species; 3) specific cutting edge examples of applications of models of species distributions under climate change ranging from evolutionary biology to ecological disciplines; 4) medium user level of the software Biomod; 5) critical reading of the scientific literature as a result of the paper discussions in the seminars.

There are two parallel learning outcomes I hope students will learn:

A parallel learning outcome is diversity. I promote diversity of personal and scientific backgrounds, and a diversity of Phd topics among the attendees so the Phd students can be exposed to other related research fields that are asking similar questions about the relationships between climate and species.

A second parallel learning outcome is gender equality in academia. Three out of teachers in the course are females (ranging from Professor to Assistant Professor to post-doc). Mainly for female students I hope they find these female teachers a role model and an example that highlights that women can be highly successfully in academia

Lectures and practical work
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 35
  • Preparation
  • 60
  • Study Groups
  • 5
  • Total
  • 100
Type of assessment
Course participation under invigilation
Course participation under invigilation
Exam registration requirements

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