• Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

    Header of Biogeography at Transmitting Science

Online Course – 2nd Edition

Species Distributions: Modelling Uncertainty using Fuzzy Logic

April 12th-16th, 2021



This course will be delivered ONLINE, with a combination of online live lessons,  plus recorded classes and assignments. A good internet connection is required to follow the course.


Course overview

Species distribution data are always incomplete snapshots of actual species distributions, which are dynamic and thus constantly changing. Predicting species distributions and how they may evolve is crucial for ecosystem management and conservation planning, but the intrinsic unpredictability that is inherent to living organisms prevents accurate categorical forecasts of species’ occurrence sites, or accurate delimitations of their distribution ranges.

In this course we will analyse the limitations and uncertainties associated with species distribution records, and provide methods for dealing with them, including species distribution models treated with fuzzy logic and quantum mechanical concepts.

The course will include theoretical and practical lessons. We will use particular R packages, such as fuzzySim and modEvA, for 1) modelling species distributions based on available occurrence records; 2) evaluating the predictive capacity of these models using a varied set of measures that address different facets of model performance, such as discrimination, classification, explanatory power and calibration; and 3) incorporating natural uncertainty in analyses of species distributions, namely using fuzzy logic and formulas from quantum mechanics to assess similarity, diversity and change in biogeographical communities.

We will provide sample data for most of the course, but students will also have a chance to apply what they have learned to their own data if they wish.


All participants must have a personal laptop with R installed, webcam if possible, and a good internet connection. Basic knowledge of R is required.




This course will be delivered online.

Please check the schedule for the live online part, and be aware that it is UTC+1 (Madrid time zone).


April 12th-16th, 2021




28 hours online.

This course is equivalent to 1 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 16 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.

A. Marcia Barbosa instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. A. Márcia Barbosa
CIBIO-InBIO, University of Évora

Alba Estrada instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Alba Estrada
Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos, IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM)


  • Introduction to species distributions.
  • Types of distribution data: Presence-only, presence-absence, range maps.
  • Facing uncertainty in species distributions.
  • Introduction to modelling species distributions.
  • Presence-only, presence-background and presence-absence modelling methods.
  • Overview of R packages for modelling species distributions.
  • fuzzySim introductory practice: Obtaining distance-based fuzzy distribution data.
  • Species distribution modelling with the favourability function.
  • fuzzySim modelling.
  • Calculating “quantum” measures of diversity and distributional change.
  • Evaluating the fit and predictive capacity of distribution models.
  • modEvA practice: Analysing and evaluating fuzzy distribution data.


  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until February 28th, 2021):
  • 496 € *

    (396.8 € for Ambassador Institutions)

  • Regular (after February 28th, 2021):
  • 620 € *

    (494 € for Ambassador Institutions)

  • This includes the course material (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.

You can check the list of Ambassador Institutions. If you want your institution to become a Transmitting Science Ambassador please contact us at communication@transmittingscience.com


Course Schedule
  • Monday to Friday:
    • 14:00 to 17:00 online live lessons (GMT+1).

The rest of the time will be taught with assignments, to be done between the live sessions.


Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the Course Fee. We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact courses@transmittingscience.com).

Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Ambassador Institutions). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Unemployed scientists living in the country were the course will be held, as well as PhD students based in that country 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.


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