• Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

    Header of Ecology at Transmitting Science

Short Live Online Course – 1st Edition

Functional trait diversity: calculating and interpreting a key component of biodiversity


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Course Overview

This course is focused on applying and interpreting indices of functional trait diversity, and related metrics of community trait structure, a key component of biodiversity that is becoming increasingly important to understand how communities might respond to environmental change and the consequences of these changes for ecosystem functionality.

Functional diversity, the extent of trait differences between organisms, is a multifaceted concept that can be measured in many different ways, leaving ecologists often with technical doubts about which indices to use and how to apply them. We will deal with these doubts, with both real examples from biological communities and simulations and applying all concepts directly with several R scripts accompanying the instructor’s recent book on functional trait tools.

We will consider and learn how to compute and interpret different metrics of trait dissimilarity among organisms, learn how to account for intraspecific trait variability, combine indices of functional trait diversity with indices of phylogenetic diversity, compute functional diversity at different scales (e.g. alpha and beta partitioning of diversity) and learn how to navigate packages created by the instructor’s team (TPD, among others).

Basic experience with R is required.

Participants are also required to have a computer with access to a good internet connection, a recent version of R and RStudio installed.

Francesco de Bello instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Francesco de Bello
Desertification Research Center, CSIC-UV-GVA

Carlos Perez Carmona instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Carlos Pérez Carmona
University of Tartu

Dates & Schedule

May 3rd-5th, 2023

13:00-17:00 (Madrid time zone)

Online live sessions Wednesday to Friday, from 13:00 to 17:00 (Madrid time zone).

Total course hours: 15



This course will be delivered live online

The course will be taught using a combination of live (synchronous) sessions on Zoom and activities on Slack.

Live sessions will be recorded. Recordings will be made available to participants for a limited period of time. However, attendance at the live sessions is required.


Places are limited to 18 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

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

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno Transmitting Science coordinator

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science

Haris Saslis coordinator for Transmitting Science

Dr. Haris Saslis
Transmitting Science

Fees & Discounts

  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until March 31st, 2023):
  • 326 €
    (260.80 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Regular (after March 31st, 2023):
  • 396 €
    (316.80 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • All prices include VAT.
    After registration you will receive confirmation of your acceptance in the course.
    Payment is not required during registration.

We offer discounts on the Course Fee.

Discounts are not cumulative. Participants receive the highest appropriate discount.

We also offer the possibility of paying in two instalments. Please contact us to request this.

Former participants of Transmitting Science courses receive a 5% discount on the Course Fee.

20% discount on the Course Fee is offered to members of certain organisations (Ambassador Institutions). If you wish to apply for this discount, please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later). If you would like your institution to become a Transmitting Science Ambassador Institution, please contact us at communication@transmittingscience.com

Unemployed scientists, as well as PhD students without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, can benefit from a 40% discount on the Course Fee. This applies only to participants based in Spain. If you wish to ask for this discount, please contact us. The discount may apply for a maximum of 2 places, which will be covered by strict registration order.

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