Niche Models

Cameron Aldridge, Sunil Kumar, Barry Noon

Description:This is a broad-ranging seminar course designed to expose students to the variety of quantitative and statistical techniques available to assess species-habitat relationships. Niche models are known by a variety of names including species distribution models, habitat relationship models, bioclimatic envelopes, and others. The concepts and application of these models are not new, although there are many new statistical algorithms to estimate niche relationships. They all rely on the concept of the niche�?�¢??the set of environmental conditions in which a species can survive and persist. They are particularly topical today because of concerns over the effects of climate change, energy development, and invasive species on the distribution and abundance of native species. Our goal is to expose students to a suite of different analytical approaches so as to give them a new tool set for future design of experiments and analyses of data. The course structure is one 50 minute period. The first portion of the class will consist of a brief introduction to a topic (~15 minutes). This is intended to cover some of the theoretical and conceptual foundations of a given statistical algorithm used for niche modeling, and provide an overview for a key paper we will read on the specific topic. The remainder of the class will be a discussion on the topic and the key paper(s), lead by that week�?�¢??s presenters (faulty or students). Students will lead one class presentation and discussion. Topics discussed in this course could include resource selection functions (RSFs), resource utilization functions (RUFs), occupancy models, Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) models, count-based models (Poisson and negative binomial regression), survival models, Ecological Niche Factor Analyses (ENFA), classification and regression tree (CART) models, Movement Models, Bayesian Belief Networks, Maximum Entropy Models, Model Assessment and Evaluation, and more.

Section: 2
Credits: 1
Restrictions: Graduate students or permission of the instructor.
First Meeting: 8/28/2013
Meeting Times: Proposed: 10:00 - 11:00 am; to be discussed at 1st meeting.
Classroom: NESB B215
CRN: 60165
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 30
Background: None: student background in ecology will vary, but see the course description for the topics the course will focus on.
Course Text: None: scientific articles will be identified and discussed.
Instructor Contact Info:
      Cameron Aldridge 970-226-9433
      Sunil Kumar 970-491-7056
      Barry Noon 970-491-7905