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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

1st Edition

Dealing with Uncertainty in Species Distributions: Fuzzy Modelling and Fuzzy Comparisons

October 21st-24th, 2019, Barcelona (Spain)


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Dealing with Uncertainty in Species Distributions-Fuzzy Modelling and Fuzzy Comparisons

Course overview

Species distribution data are always incomplete snapshots of actual species distributions, which are dynamic and thus constantly changing. Predicting species distributions and how they may evolve is crucial for ecosystem management and conservation planning, but the intrinsic unpredictability that is inherent to living organisms prevents accurate categorical forecasts of species’ occurrence sites, or accurate delimitations of their distribution ranges.

In this course we will analyse the limitations and uncertainties associated with species distribution records, and provide methods for dealing with them, including species distribution models treated with fuzzy logic and quantum mechanical concepts.

The course will include theoretical and practical lessons. We will use particular R packages, such as fuzzySim and modEvA, for 1) modelling species distributions based on available occurrence records; 2) evaluating the predictive capacity of these models using a varied set of measures that address different facets of model performance, such as discrimination, classification, explanatory power and calibration; and 3) incorporating natural uncertainty in analyses of species distributions, namely using fuzzy logic and formulas from quantum mechanics to assess similarity, diversity and change in biogeographical communities.

We will provide sample data for most of the course, but students will also have a chance to apply what they have learned to their own data if they wish.


Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP)

C/ de l’Escola Industrial, 23
08201 Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain)

How to get there


October 21st-24th, 2019




28 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 1 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 16 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

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


Marcia Barbosa instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. A. Márcia Barbosa
CIBIO-InBIO, University of Évora

Alba Estrada instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Alba Estrada
Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos, IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM)


Ana Rosa Gómez-Cano coordinator at Transmitting Science

Dr. Ana Rosa Gómez-Cano
Transmitting Science

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science


Participants must bring their own computer with R installed. Basic knowledge of R is required.


Monday, October 21st, 2019.

  • Morning:
    • Introduction to species distributions.
    • Types of distribution data: Presence-only, presence-absence, range maps.
    • Facing uncertainty in species distributions.
    • Introduction to modelling species distributions.
  • Afternoon:
    • Practice: Introduction to the R software and programming language.
    • Discussion.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019.

  • Morning:
    • Presence-only, presence-background and presence-absence modelling methods.
    • Overview of R packages for modelling species distributions.
    • fuzzySim introductory practice: Obtaining distance-based fuzzy distribution data.
  • Afternoon:
    • Species distribution modelling with the favourability function.
    • fuzzySim modelling practice (with own or provided data).
    • Discussion.

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019.

  • Morning:
    • fuzzySim practice: Calculating fuzzy measures of similarity and diversity.
    • Calculating “quantum” measures of diversity and distributional change.
    • Practice with own or provided data.
  • Afternoon:
    • Evaluating the fit and predictive capacity of distribution models.
    • modEvA practice: Analysing and evaluating fuzzy distribution data.
    • Discussion.

Thursday, October 24th, 2019.

  • Morning:
    • Practice with own or provided data (wrap-up).
    • Short talk preparation.
    • Students’ short talks.
  • Afternoon:
    • Students’ short talks (continued).
    • Final discussion.


  • Course Fee
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  • Early bird (until July 31st, 2019):
  • 550 *
  • Regular (after July 31st, 2019):
  • 690 *
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.
  • Course Fee + Accommodation Package
  • {{content-1}}
  • Early bird (until July 31st, 2019):
  • 550 * + 260 = 810
  • Regular (after July 31st, 2019):
  • 690 * + 260 = 950
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks, accommodation from Sunday to Thursday, breakfasts and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.

We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact the course coordinator). Discounts (see Funding below) are not cumulative and apply only on the fee, not to Accommodation Package or other options.


Accommodation Package

If you take the Accommodation Package you will be hosted in the Hotel Urpí, in single standard rooms.

Accommodation is included from Sunday (check-in) to Thursday (check-out). Breakfast and lunch are also provided, starting from breakfast on Monday to lunch on Thursday (included). Dinners are not included.

Check-in on Sunday is from 14:00 on.

Transport from Barcelona city is not provided, but you can find how to arrive to Sabadell here. The hotel is located at 10 minutes walking from the train station and the Venue.

Other accommodation options

If you do not want the Accommodation Package, accommodation is available in places other than Hotel Urpí: Where to stay near the Venue.


Hotel Urpí

Hotel Urpi room


Course Schedule
  • Monday to Thursday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 18:00 Lessons.

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.



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

Furthermore, 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 coordinators. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.

Discounts are not cumulative.


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