COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT: EEB 713, Concepts and methods in global biodiversity change research in the age of big data

January 16, 2019

Instructors: W. Jetz, E. Stuber, C. Merow, S. Rinnan, B. Jesmer, G. Reygondeau & R. Oliver

Schedule, Location: Thursdays 3.30 – 5pm, OML 201 (first meeting: Jan 17th)

Note: Offered in collaboration with the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change and the Yale Center for Biodiversity Movement and Global Change

Biodiversity and its many functions are changing worldwide. This sets up a critical need for a better understanding of the processes underpinning this change and the development of new information products to help monitoring and mitigation. New technologies, data, and methods, as well as conceptual advances these have inspired, now increasingly enable work addressing this challenge for species and communities at large or even global scales.

In this course we will discuss these new opportunities and familiarize ourselves with recent research and new approaches addressing global biodiversity change. For this we will discuss examples of recent empirical work and the specific analysis workflows underpinning it. We will also explore a range of technologies supporting the capture of biodiversity information and the role of remote sensing. We will work through R-based scripted examples of spatial and temporal biodiversity modelling techniques. The course is offered in collaboration with the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change and Max Planck Yale Center for Biodiversity Movement and Global Change and will consist of presentations and mini-workshops by Center researchers and guest speakers. There will be select homework assignments (e.g. adjusting and running scripts; reading papers; expected weekly effort ca. 1-2h), but no exams.

The target audience of the course are advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs with an at least basic understanding of statistics and R scripting who are interested in the issue of biodiversity change and keen to advance their data analysis and modeling skill-set. The first meeting on 17th Jan will introduce the course and discuss the syllabus and course structure.

Currently planned themes include the following, each usually consisting of both a lecture and a hands-on workflow/scripting component:

- Biodiversity and Global Change Research in the Age of Big Data – an overview

- Spatial Modelling in R - an introduction

- Modelling species distributions in R (SDMs)

- Hierarchical species occurrence models and cross-scale SDMs

- SDMs in global change and conservation applications

- From occurrence predictions to conservation prioritization

- Predicting marine species distributions

- Modelling individual movement and distributions

- Detecting biodiversity change with acoustic and visual sensors

- Quantifying environmental niches, from individuals to species

- Assessing and projecting community change