Detailed Description of Spatial biological modelling

Spatial Distribution Modeling (SDM) and Climate Change Impact, 5ECTS


1. Basic information

Accurate spatial information about biological ecosystem properties is a requirement for developing policy and managing natural resources. Information about green biomass, species, assemblages and diversity serve a wide range of purposes in environmental management. Remote sensing may enable direct mapping of such biological properties. Frequently however, indirect approaches are used where environmental conditions are used to predict the distribution of the biological variable of interest. This course aims to strengthen skills in developing models to predict the distribution of species for purposes such as biological or environmental conservation, biodiversity assessment, species richness and species distribution. Climate change scenarios will give an indication in which direction the present distribution of species might change.

2. General information

The course is part of the internet based programme ‘GIS and Earth Observation for Environmental modeling and Natural resource management’ (iGEON). The course is an elective course for the double degree: Master of Science in Geographical Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, Faculty ITC, the Netherlands and Master of Science in Geographical Information Science of Lund University, Sweden. The course is also given as a single subject course. The language of instruction is English. The course is fully based on distance learning, with all material distributed over the Internet. It is flexible in the sense that students can study full time (100%), half time (50%), or with a 25% study tempo.

The course is also a full time on-campus elective course for a Master of Science degree in Geographical Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, Faculty ITC, Department of Natural Resources, the Netherlands.

3. Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to select appropriate models for estimating species distribution and biodiversity, to assess a species’ relation to environmental parameters and to apply these techniques to real and future world situations.

4. Course contents

The course starts by introducing a number of advanced modelling techniques, biogeography, advanced multivariate and regression models, and expert system models.

5. Teaching and assessment

Teaching consists of:

6. Grades

Students are graded for the course with a grade between 1 and 10. 6 is the pass mark.

In order to pass the course the student is required to have passed the exam, all compulsory exercises, and to have participated in all compulsory course elements.

A written report on an individual assignment, where the student demonstrates her/his ability to apply a suitable model of a biological ecosystem with all of its associated analysis and evaluation forms the final assessment.

7. Entrance requirements

The following are required for admission to the course: Basic admission requirements of Faculty ITC, and basic GIS and remote sensing corresponding to iGEON compulsory courses of semester 1 and 2 (35 ECTS).