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Call for Applications: Applications of Spatial Data – Ecological Niche Modeling, a NIMBioS Tutorial

Posted: 9/15/2018 (Funding)

Back by popular demand! The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) is now accepting applications for its Tutorial, “Applications of Spatial Data: Ecological Niche Modeling,” to be held December 3-5, 2018, at NIMBioS. The tutorial was previously held in May 2018.

Objectives: The distribution of a species may be influenced by an array of factors. The combination of these factors results in the ecological niche, the set of conditions that allow a species to exist in a geographic area. However, defining these conditions is difficult, due to the complexity of natural systems. One approach to characterizing the ecological niche uses spatial data GIS software. The objectives of this tutorial are to teach participants the concepts of ecological niche modeling, introduce them to select analytical techniques (formatting data in GIS; running Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) models), and present how to interpret and apply spatial analyses. Participants will further be familiarized with several commonly-used and/or newly-available online spatial data resources. Participants will be provided datasets to use in hands-on simulations, but can also bring their own data if desired.

This tutorial is intended for advanced graduate students, postdocs, and faculty who are interested in learning how to incorporate ecological niche modeling into their research. Some basic knowledge of GIS software and ecology is preferred. Little to no programming will be involved, with ecological niche modeling and spatial analysis conducted using existing applications (MaxEnt) and packages in QGIS and R.

Location: NIMBioS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Co-organizers: Mona Papeş, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Director, Spatial Analysis Lab at NIMBioS; Greg Wiggins, Education & Outreach Coordinator, NIMBioS

Instructors: Mona Papeş; Town Peterson, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity Institute, Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence, KS; Xiao Feng, Institute of the Environment, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; Luis Escobar, Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech

For more information about the tutorial and a link to the online application form, go to

Participation in NIMBioS tutorials is by application only. Individuals with a strong interest in the topic are encouraged to apply, and successful applicants will be notified within several weeks after the application deadline. Lodging, breakfast and lunch will be provided for tutorial attendees.

Application deadline: September 18, 2018

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) ( brings together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life sciences. NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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Deadline: 09/18/2018

Location: The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis