CSP4220 - Species Distribution Modeling

Course CodeCSP4220
Course TitleSpecies Distribution Modeling

This class helps you build habitat suitability maps for developing efficient conservation strategies. Modules are designed to introduce and develop participant skills for building species distribution models (SDMs) and habitat suitability maps that can be applied to conservation planning and management. The choice and array of models will address the need for both ecological understanding and spatial predictive capacity, with the aim of increasing the predictive power of the analyses and reduce the error associated with spatial models. The three primary predictive approaches examined during the course will include: additive logistic regression (GAM), classification trees (CART) and Random Forest.

Participants will be formed into teams to perform analyses on actual data to evaluate landscape-level distributions of species that can be used to guide conservation planning.


  • Develop critical modeling skills based upon reliable analytical techniques and integrated with available GIS technology.
  • Assess and map the distribution of plant and animal species based upon both abiotic and biotic attributes of the species and its environment.
  • Use sampling designs that increase predictive power of analyses and reduces the error associated with modeling the environment.


Making Sense of Biological Data with R and Statistical Modeling for Conservation or equivalent experience with R and statistical background. This class assumes that have a working knowledge of linear and generalized linear model fitting. Consult with course leader with requests for bypassing course prerequisites.


Anyone needing species-habitat, resource selection, and habitat suitability information for conservation work. Specifically for FWS staff, 1) those working in Ecological Services who are evaluating potential project impacts or considering landscape conservation designs for species of concern, 2) refuge and fisheries personnel evaluating habitat management for target species or identifying high value sites for management or acquisition, and 3) teams that are striving to identify areas of high likelihood of species occurrence for assessment or management action (as eradicating invasive introduced species). This course squarely addresses elements of Biological Planning and Conservation Design within the Strategic Habitat Conservation framework.

Delivery MethodInstructor Led
Non-FWS Fee$1,195.00
Instructional Hours36
Course Content ContactEric Tsakiris; eric_tsakiris@fws.gov; 304-876-7430; eric_tsakiris@fws.gov
Curriculum CategoryGeospatial and Statistics
Course FrequencyOnce per year
Registration LinkRegister
College Credit NameSemester Hours
College Credit Value2
Extracted from DOI LEARN on10/3/2017 3:30:25 AM

Schedule:  CSP4220 - Species Distribution Modeling

StartEndSession InformationLocationSession Contact
7/16/2018 7/20/2018 For registration questions contact: katie_poston@fws.gov
For course content questions contact: eric_tsakiris@fws.gov
National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) katie_poston@fws.gov