Stats Central - Short Course: Hierarchical Modelling of Species Communities with the R-package Hmsc, June 18-19 2020


Hierarchical Modelling of Species Communities with the R-package Hmsc

18 - 19 June, 2020

Course Overview

Hierarchical Modelling of Species Communities (HMSC) is a joint species distribution modelling approach that enables one to integrate data on species abundances, environmental covariates, species traits, phylogenetic relationships, and the spatio-temporal context in which the data have been acquired (Ovaskainen et al. 2017Ovaskainen and Abrego 2020). This course is aimed for students and researchers who are interested in analysing data on community ecology in a way that allows placing their results in the context of modern theory. The course covers a comprehensive treatment of HMSC, including both the technical detail of the statistical methods, as well as the ecological interpretation of the results. With the help of worked out examples, the participants learn how to conduct and interpret statistical analyses in practice with the R-package Hmsc (Tikhonov et al. 2020), providing a fast starting point for applying HMSC to their own data. The participants are also encouraged to bring also their own data so that they can get hands-on support on HMSC-analyses of their own projects.

Course Outline

This course will cover topics including:

  • Introduction and motivation

  • How HMSC relates to ecological theory?

  • The syntax and typical workflow of the R-package Hmsc

  • Types of data that can be incorporated to Hmsc

  • Types of questions that can be addressed by Hmsc

  • Worked out case studies on plants, fungi and birds

  • Break-up groups to analyse your own data


Presenter and Expertise: Otso Ovaskainen (Professor, University of Helsinki) and Jari Oksanen (Emeritus Professor, University of Helsinki)

Course Requirement: You will need to bring your own laptop to the course, with preferably both R and the R-package Hmsc (found from CRAN) installed

Duration: 9.00am to 5.00pm for both days

Location: Morven Brown Building (K-C20-G3) Room G3 | Gate 8, High Street | UNSW Sydney | UNSW Kensington Campus

Course fee: Free

Refreshment: Morning and afternoon teas