Training Course on Ecological Niche Modelling and Integration of Large Biodiversity Databases for Macroecological Research


University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, 17-27 May 2011


The course will explore the use large scale biodiversity databases for macroecological research. There is now a new emerging e-infrastructure for biodiversity which is making it possible and practical to merge data from large number of distributed sources. Instrumental to such progress is the ability to harmonise content in the integrated database, where use of scientific nomenclature is one of the hardest aspects to deal with. This is being solved by linking scientific names of organisms to their underlying taxonomic concepts, and automatic processing of their globally unique identifiers. This is the topic of an existing joint NordForsk LSID project of the Nordic nodes of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). During the course the students will explore the utility of the new e-infrastructure and integrate the available Nordic databases of butterflies and moths. That unique integrated resource will be used to study the impact of climate change to the butterfly and moth fauna. The course will be held in Joensuu, Eastern Finland. The teachers include several world-leading researchers in macroecology whose advise and review of the results will help to build Nordic strength in this important topic.

Course programme

17 May: Introductions, practicalities, problem statement and discussion, biodiversity databases, GBIF/TDWG, open access protocols. Overview of the results of the LSID project. Taxonomic databases in general and the Nordic Lepidoptera databases in particular.
18 May: Nordic observation databases of Lepidoptera, and their LSIDs implementations. Integration of the target databases and their exploration and data mining. Setting the scene for coursework.
19 May: Introduction to R and TRIM, begin use of R and TRIM for coursework.
20 May: Preparation of analysis and report on use of R and TRIM.

21 May: Day off (or spare day for optional programme).
22 May: Excursion to Koli national park, optional arrival for those attending second week only.

23 May: Introduction to ecological niche modelling.
24 May: Introduction to GARP and MAXENT, case studies.
25 May: Use of MAXENT by students for own analysis.
26 May: Macroecology seminar. Presentation of results of student projects. Presentations of macroecological projects by visiting scientists.
27 May: Seminar continues. Adjourn in the afternoon.

Adjustments to the programme are possible.


Audience: Attendees include 1-3 students from each of the Nordic countries, 10 trainees of the Digitisation Centre, and 5 teachers. The students are ideally at post graduate level, or are in the middle of their M.Sc. thesis preparation. Some experience with GIS tools is a prerequisite.

The students that complete the full course will receive a certificate for 2 ECTS points from the University of Eastern Finland.

How to apply: Prospective students send application to the organiser by 21 April 2011. Include a brief CV, educational history, list of eventual publications, and brief letter of motivation. It is possible to attend the first or second week only, but reasons for this must be explained. Acceptance to the course will be announced 30 April 2011. Travel costs, accommodation, and per diem will be paid for the accepted attendees.

Contact and further information

Hannu Saarenmaa
Mobile +358-50-4479668

Digitarium - Digitisation Centre of the Finnish Museum of Natural History and the University of Eastern Finland
Faculty of Science and Forestry, Joensuu Science Park
Länsikatu 15 (P.O. Box 111)
FIN-80101 Joensuu

The course is funded by NordForsk, European Social Fund, and European Regional Development Fund