Sunday, August 6, 2017: 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
A108, Oregon Convention Center
Adam B. Smith, Missouri Botanical Garden
Camilo Sanín, Missouri Botanical Garden; and
Danielle Svehla, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Although species distribution and niche models (SDMs) are commonly employed by conservation practitioners, biogeographers, and global change ecologists, the literature on how to implement and interpret SDMs is rapidly evolving and spread across thousands of papers and books. Moreover, locating appropriate tools and databases, understanding their limitations, and processing the data can be daunting. In this intensive one-day workshop, we will walk through the steps of modeling species’ distributions from “start” (data acquisition) to “finish” (a product generally sufficient for publication or use in a conservation plan). The workshop will revolve around a series of short exercises designed to teach best practices in each step in the modeling process: 1) data acquisition, cleaning, and de-biasing; 2) selection of study region extent; 3) model calibration; 4) model evaluation, data splitting, and null model analysis; and 5) model interpretation. Throughout the workshop we will emphasize the limits and strengths of SDMs, the distinction between ecological niche modeling and species distribution modeling, and differences between presence-only versus presence/absence modeling. The workshop will be conducted in R since it provides all of the necessary tools for distribution modeling. Participants do not have to be experts in R to benefit from the course, but should know how to import and save data (e.g., CSV files), make basic plots, and manipulate data frames (refer to columns and subset).