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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

2nd Edition

Geometric Morphometrics with Plants

May 8th-13th, 2017, Barcelona (Spain)

Geometric Morphometrics

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Geometric Morphometrics with Plants

This course offers a self-contained introduction to geometric morphometrics with a special focus on applications in plant evolution and development. Plant-specific aspects of data acquisition and evaluation are discussed, and the particular possibilities of geometric morphometrics in plants will be highlighted. Lectures about general morphological and developmental characteristics of plants are combined with an introduction to the concepts and techniques of shape analysis. Finally, advanced methods such as regression analyses, modularity tests and comparative phylogenetic analyses are presented. This theoretical basis is complemented by hands-on demonstrations of data collection and analyses.

The main focus of the course will be on landmark morphometrics, but a brief introduction and discussion of outline methods and semilandmarks is also provided.

If there are participants who already have collected their own data, they are encouraged to bring these data for conducting analyses and discussing results.


Centre de Restauració i Interpretació Paleontològica (CRIP)

C/ Mestre J. Lladós, 1
08781 Els Hostalets de Pierola, Barcelona (Spain)

How to get there




44 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 3 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School and ForBio.

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.


Chris Klingenberg Instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Chris Klingenberg
University of Manchester
United Kingdom


Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science


Graduate or postgraduate degree in any Sciences discipline, basic knowledge of statistics. All participants must bring their own personal laptop (Windows, Macintosh, Linux) and field equipment (robust shoes!) for the sampling excursion. If you possess a camera, possibly with a macro lens, it might also be useful.


Monday, May 8th, 2017.

  • Morning:

1. Fundamentals of plant morphology.

2. Introduction to geometric morphometrics.

3. Landmarks and data collection.

  • Afternoon: collecting plants, formulating simple study questions, taking images.

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017.

  • Morning:

4. Fundamentals of plant development.

5. Principal component analysis.

6. Outliers and measurement error.

  • Afternoon: continuing with group work, trying PCA, outliers, etc.

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017.

  • Morning:

7. Distinguishing groups: canonical variates and discriminant functions.

8. Regression and allometry.

9. Symmetry and asymmetry.

  • Afternoon: continuing group work.

Thursday, May 11th, 2017.

  • Morning:

10. Complex symmetries.

11. Partial least squares.

12. Plasticity.

  • Afternoon: continuing group work.

Friday, May 12th, 2017.

  • Morning:

13. Within-plant variation.

14. Morphological integration.

15. Modularity.

  • Afternoon: continuing group work.

Saturday, May 13th, 2017.

  • Morning:

16. Quantitative genetics of shape.

17. Natural selection on shape.

18. Phylogeny and comparative methods.

19. Presentations of group work.

Previous editions of this course


1st Edition, April 22nd-26th, 2014

Course Geometric Morphometrics with Plants - 1st Edition, April 22nd-26th, 2014Eleven people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Gemany: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
  • Belgium: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
  • Norway: Museum of Natural History and Archaeology – Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  • Mexico: National Autonomous University of Mexico, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo.
  • Austria: University of Graz, University of Vienna.
  • Switzerland: University of Zurich.


  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until November 30th, 2016):
  • 530
  • Regular (after November 30th, 2016):
  • 740
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches.
    (VAT included)
  • Accommodation Package
  • Early bird (until November 30th, 2016):
  • 375
  • Regular (after November 30th, 2016):
  • 375
  • This includes local transportation, lodging, breakfasts, dinners and social (tourist) activities.
    (VAT included)
  • Course Fee + Accommodation Package
  • Early bird (until November 30th, 2016):
  • 905
  • Regular (after November 30th, 2016):
  • 1,115
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks, local transportation, lodging, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and social (tourist) activities.
    (VAT included)

20 % discount will be applied to your fee If you belong to any of the Institutions listed HERE. Discounts (see Funding below) are not cumulative and apply only on the fee.

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


If you take the Accommodation Package you will be hosted in the Youth Hostel Can Roviralta (take a look at the venue), in shared dormitories (common bathrooms), although you will only share rooms with other classmates. The possibility exists that the dormitories will be mixed. Therefore, if this is an inconvenience for you, and you require staying in a dormitory with only women, or only men, please indicate so in the “Comments” field of the Registration form (see below).

A supplemental charge will be added if you prefer to stay in a single room with private bathroom. The number of rooms is limited and if you prefer to have a single room, let us know it as soon as possible. If you want more information on this please contact the course coordinator.

Please be aware that from the centre of Barcelona city it takes about one hour by car and one hour and a half by public transport to arrive to Els Hostalets de Pierola. Course participants will find that staying in Els Hostalets de Pierola is more convenient.

If you do not want the Accommodation Package, accommodation is available in places other than Els Hostalets de Pierola. You may stay in Barcelona city, Martorell or Igualada. You will find information about Hotels in Martorell here, and information about Hotels in Igualada here.

How to get to Els Hostalets de Pierola from Barcelona city, Martorell or Igualada.

Youth Hostel Can Roviralta (Els Hostalets de Pierola, Barcelona, Spain)



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).

Unemployed scientists living in Spain, as well as PhD students based in Spain 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 and apply only on the fee, not to Accommodation Package or other options.


Course ScheduleCourse + Accommodation Package Schedule
Sunday, May 7th, 201719:00 Meeting point in Plaza Catalunya (Barcelona) to take the bus to Els Hostalets de Pierola. If you are planning to arrive later, you can find more information in How to get there.
20:00 Registration in the Youth Hostel.
20:30 Dinner.
Monday, May 8th through Friday, May 12th, 20179:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
13:30 to 15:00 Lunch.
15:00 to 19:00 Lessons.

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

8:30 to 9:00 Breakfast.
9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
13:30 to 15:00 Lunch.
15:00 to 19:00 Lessons.
20:30 Dinner.

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

Saturday, May 13th, 20179:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
13:30 to 15:00 Lunch.

There will be a coffee break during the morning lesson session.

8:30 to 9:00 Breakfast.
9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
13:30 to 15:00 Lunch.
15:00 Meeting point in the Youth Hostel to take the bus to go back to Barcelona city.
16:30 Arrival at Plaza Catalunya (Barcelona).

There will be a coffee break during the morning 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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Colegio Oficial de Biólogos de Castilla y León Logo
Colegio Oficial de Biólogos de Euskadi Logo
Colexio Oficial de Biólogos de Galicia Logo
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European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists (EAVP) Logo
Sociedade Brasileira de Paleontologia (SBP) Logo