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1st Edition

Multivariate Data Analysis for Ecology and Evolution in R

January 18th-22nd, 2016, Barcelona (Spain)

Multivariate Data Analysis for Ecology and Evolution in R

Many of the questions concerning the fields of ecology and evolution are better represented by multivariate datasets. The complex relationships observed across an ecological community, the association among different sets of phenotypic traits and the interaction between the phenotype and its environment are all fundamental questions in evolutionary ecology. The description and comprehension of complex phenotypes is often better achieved through the quantification and analysis of multiple, frequently interdependent, phenotypic and ecological variables. The R-language for statistical computing is nowadays the software most frequently used by evolutionary ecologists for statistical inference and hypothesis testing. Being a very flexible, freely available programming language, it has become an indispensable tool in ecological and evolutionary studies: many new statistical methods have been developed in recent years using R and numerous top-rank journals nowadays favor its use for the publication of scientific results.

This course is directed towards PhD students and researchers interested in exploring the potential of R language for multivariate analyses in ecology and evolution. The course will provide a general presentation of major statistical tools for multivariate analyses, including exploratory methods, multivariate GLM, methods for controlling for evolutionary and ecological non-independence, model selection and analysis of dispersion.

The course will include a morning and an afternoon session. During the morning session, the instructors will discuss major themes in ecology and evolution and associate them to the statistical tools available for exploring specific scientific questions. The afternoon session will begin with a short (1h) demonstration of R code based on a worked, biological example and followed by practical training by the participants. At the end of the course, participants will each give a presentation on their research system, potentially including some analyses carried out during the course, or ideas of how they might incorporate the knowledge acquired during the course to their research.


Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont

C/ de l’Escola Industrial, nº 23
08201 Sabadell, Barcelona.

How to get there




35 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 3.5 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.


Places are limited to 20 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.


Dean C. Adams instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Dean C. Adams 
Iowa State University
United States of America

Antigoni Kaliontzopoulou instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Antigoni Kaliontzopoulou
Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos


Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science


Graduate or postgraduate degree in any Biosciences discipline, basic knowledge of statistics and R. All participants must bring their own personal laptop (Windows, Macintosh, Linux).


Monday, January 18th, 2016.

1. Preliminary concepts: Why bother with multivariate analyses? How do we do this? Review of matrix algebra. What’s in a distance: Multivariate data spaces and metrics.

2. Exploratory Methods: PCA, PCoA, MDS, clustering.


Tuesday, January 19th, 2016.

3a. Inferential Methods I. Resampling (randomization, bootstrap, jackknife, Monte Carlo statistics).

3b. Inferential Methods II. General linear models in matrix form: Multivariate GLM (MANOVA, regression, MANCOVA).

3c. Inferential Methods III. Association methods (PLS, CanCor, Mantel tests, …, why NOT to use CVA).


Wednesday, January 20th, 2016.

4. Phenotypic trajectory analysis: Patterns of change.

5a. Methods for evolutionary and ecological non-independence I. Phylogenetic comparative method (PGLS, PIC, rates of change).

5b. Methods for evolutionary and ecological non-independence II. Spatial considerations (spatial autocorrelation, spatial GLS).


Thursday, January 21st, 2016.

6. Model selection (logL, AIC, …).

7. Analysis of dispersion: Convex hulls area / volume, nearest neighbor, centroid size, and eccentricity.


Friday, January 22nd, 2016.

Student presentations and concluding remarks.

Previous editions of this course


1st Edition, January 18th-22nd, 2016

Course Multivariate Data Analysis for Ecology and Evolution in R - 1st Edition, January 18th-22nd, 2016Eight people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Spain: Instituto de Ciencias del Mar – CSIC, Universidad de Granada, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, University of Barcelona.
  • United States of America: Smithsonian Institution, University of Maryland.
  • Belgium: Université Catholique de Louvain.
  • United Kingdom: PetroStrat Ltd.


  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until July 31st, 2015):
  • 490
  • Regular (after July 31st, 2015):
  • 685
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches.

We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact the course coordinator).


The course will take place in the city of Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain).

You may stay in Barcelona city or Sabadell. You will find information about Hotels and Hostel in Sabadell here. It takes about 45 minutes by public transport to arrive to Sabadell from the centre of Barcelona city. The place of the course is about 15 minutes walking from the train stop.


Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

Unfortunately there are no scholarships available for this course. However a 20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Organizations with discount). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Spanish unemployed scientists, as well as Spanish PhD students without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact the course coordinator. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.

Discounts are not cumulative.


Course Schedule
Monday, January 18th through Friday, January 22nd, 20169:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
13:00 to 14:30 Lunch.
14:30 to 18:00 Lessons.

There will be two coffee breaks each day, halfway through each lesson session.

The schedule is approximate; it is possible that the content of one day may run into the next and a working day may be longer than advertised.


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Registration closed

Registration for this course is not yet available.
If you want to receive information once the registration is open, please subscribe without any obligation by selecting the topic Statistics.

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