From 2 November 2020, the autumn semester 2020 will take place online. Exceptions: Courses that can only be carried out with on-site presence. Please note the information provided by the lecturers via e-mail.

701-1679-00L  Landscape Modelling of Biodiversity: From Global Changes to Conservation

SemesterAutumn Semester 2020
LecturersL. Pellissier, N. Zimmermann
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractThe course provides the student with the spatial tools to address societal challenges toward ensuring the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and the conservation of biodiversity. Students learn theory, tools and models during a few introductory sessions and apply this knowledge to solve a practical problem in groups related to climate change, land use change and biodiversity conservation.
ObjectiveStudents learn:
- Theoretical foundations of the species ecological niche
- Biodiversity concepts and global change impacts
- Basic concepts of spatial (& macro-) ecology
- Environmental impact assessment and planning
- Advanced statistical methods (GLM, GAM, CART) and basic programming (loops, functions, advanced scripting) in the statistical environment R.
- The use of GIS functionality in R
Content1. The basics:
Introduction to the concept of the ecological niche, and biodiversity theories. Overview of the knowledge on expected biodiversity response to global changes and conservation planning methods.
Introduction to the statistical methods of Generalized Linear (GLM) and Generalized Additive models (GAM), and Classification and Regression Trees (CART). Introduction to basic GIS and programming elements in the statistical environment R.
2. The class project:
Students form groups of two, and each group solves a series of applied questions independently in R using the techniques taught in the introductory classes. The students then prepare a presentation and report of the obtained results that will be discussed during a mini-symposium. Each team choses one of the following topics for the class project:
a) Linking climate change velocities to species' migration capacities
b) Explaining and modelling land use change in Switzerland
c) Explaining and modelling biodiversity changes in Switzerland
d) Designing biodiversity conservation strategies under global changes.
Prerequisites / NoticeBasic knowledge in statistics (OLS regression, test statistics), and basic knowledge in geographic information science.