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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

1st Edition

Introduction to Geometric Morphometrics using (mostly) R

July 8th-12th, 2019, Alberta (Canada)

Geometric Morphometrics

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Course Overview Course Introduction to Geometric Morphometrics using mostly R

This course is intended as an introduction to the major aspects of 2D and 3D landmark-based shape analysis. While we will spend some time on shape theory and mechanical aspects relevant statistical analyses, the goal of doing so will be to develop your intuition for how to—and how not to—design and interpret your geometric morphometrics research.

Students will learn the foundations of geometric morphometrics through lectures and daily exercises. The exercises are designed around a mouse cranium and mandible sample which is suitable for nearly every major type of geometric morphometrics inquiry: shape variation, covariation between shape features, linear models to evaluate group differences and treatment effects, shape-size associations (ontogenetic and static allometry), etc.

Students lacking a rudimentary understanding of R will be asked to complete a short series of introductory exercises prior to attending the course. Most analyses will be done in R, although we will also use Meshlab for landmarking 3D models, and tpsDig for 2D landmarking.


University of Calgary

Calgary (Canada)


July 8th-12th, 2019




35 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 2 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.


Paula González coordinator for Transmitting Science

Dr. Paula González
Unidad Ejecutora Estudios en Neurociencias y Sistemas Complejos. CONICET-HEC-UNAJ

David Katz instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. David Katz
University of Calgary


Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science

Paula González coordinator for Transmitting Science

Dr. Paula González
Unidad Ejecutora Estudios en Neurociencias y Sistemas Complejos. CONICET-HEC-UNAJ


Graduate or postgraduate degree in Biomedical, Life or Earth Sciences, basic knowledge of statistics.

All participants must bring their own personal laptop.


Monday, July 8th, 2019.

Introduction to geometric morphometrics and R.

  • Morphology and morphometrics:
    • Traditional morphometrics
    • Shape and form
    • Early approaches to shape and form
    • The geometric morphometric consensus
    • Alternative superimposition methods
    • Characterizing shape (landmarks, semilandmarks, surfaces, etc.)
  • Introduction to R and RStudio:
    • R basics
    • Scripts, functions, packages
    • Import and export
    • Morphometric data organization
    • Plotting in 2D and 3D

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019.

Basics of landmark-based shape analysis

  • Preliminary methodological aspects in a morphometric study
  • Choosing landmarks and semilandmarks
  • Recording landmarks and semilandmarks
  • Missing data and imputation
  • Visualizing and characterizing total shape differences

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019.

Basic decompositions of shape variation

  • Inter- and intra-observer error
  • Deformed specimens and outliers
  • Ordination with PCA and thin plate spline
  • Symmetry and asymmetry
  • Disparity

Thursday, July 11th, 2019.

Quantifying and controlling for biological factors

  • Regression
  • CVA and discrimination
  • How many clusters (k-means, etc.)?
  • Relatedness (pedigree, phylogeny)

Friday, July 12th, 2019.

Relationships between morphological structures

  • Morphological integration and modularity
  • Partial least squares analysis
  • Choosing modules (spatial, functional, developmental, variational)
  • Conclusions and new directions


  • Course Fee
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  • Early bird (until April 30th, 2019):
  • 950 CAD
  • Regular (after April 30th, 2019):
  • 1200 CAD
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included). Prices do NOT include GST (5 %).


Course Schedule
  • Monday to Friday:
    • 9:00 to 12:30 Lessons.
    • 12:30 to 13:30 Lunch (included).
    • 13:30 to 17:00 Lessons.



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).

Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the fee, not to Accommodation Package or other options.


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