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Spatial Ecology, Geospatial Analysis and Remote Sensing for Conservation

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Our world is changing rapidly. Many changes occur across areas and time periods beyond everyday human perception, often going undetected, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. Satellite imagery, computer-based modeling, and mapping systems such as GIS have radically transformed our ability to detect, map, and model such changes. These geospatial technologies allow us to monitor natural biological systems. New advances in spatial ecology permit us to put these data in the context of our ecological understanding and to generalize these patterns to advance ecological theories and their applications. Taken together these disciplines and techniques give conservation biologists and practitioners a powerful new tool box.


This course provides a comprehensive overview of these disciplines and tools and includes hand-on exercises ranging from land cover mapping and home range analysis to modeling of habitat selection and mapping species distributions. Specifically, this course focuses on how to quantify human-induced global changes and their effects on wildlife and biodiversity. Instruction and labs use satellite remote sensing and GIS in connection with extensive field survey data to monitor global changes, assess their impacts on wild populations, and develop mitigating land use strategies.

This applied course is focused on addressing conservation research problems using the GIS toolbox. Participants will learn to use ArcMap, ArcMap Spatial Analyst, ERDAS Imagine, Fragstats, and other spatial analysis programs.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the basics of geospatial analysis and the types of data used
  • Conduct remote sensing analysis and use satellite data to make land cover and habitat maps or measure environmental variation, such as primary productivity
  • Collect GIS data in the field using statistical sampling and GPS
  • Design and perform analysis using GIS data and spatial analysis techniques
  • Conduct a basic land cover change assessment using satellite imagery
  • Link species presence/absence or abundance data to other spatial data in a GIS
  • Compare existing techniques for modeling species habitat, niche selection, and distribution
  • Apply advanced spatial analysis techniques to real-world conservation and ecology problems, with case examples based on Smithsonian research
  • Apply GIS-generated analyses to conservation planning
______________________________________________________________________ Dates

September 30 – October 11, 2013


Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia

Application Procedure

Spatial Ecology, Geospatial Analysis and Remote Sensing for Conservation is offered through the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation as a professional training course for 6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Applications should be submitted using our Online Application Page. Before beginning our online application, please have .pdf or .doc versions of your updated CV, a Personal Statement of Interest and Qualifications (maximum 350 words), and a Professional Letter of Recommendation. You’ll be asked to attach these with your application.

For first consideration, apply before July 22, 2013.

Course Costs

Payment Deadline: August 5, 2013

The total cost for this course is $3,478 (Course fee of $2100 + Housing and Dining Package of $1,378) and includes:

  • Registration fees
  • Instruction, course manual, textbooks and other course materials
  • Pick-up and drop-off at Dulles International airport, and transportation for course activities
  • Daily full-service buffet at the SMSC Dining Commons – Dining begins with dinner on Sunday September 29 and ends with brunch on Saturday October 12.
  • Housing at the SMSC Residential Facility, including a shared room with bathroom (single rooms available at extra cost) – Lodging begins  Sunday September 29 and check out is Saturday October 12.

Scholarships are available on a competitive basis for eligible international applicants. Click HERE for more information on scholarships.


Commuting to this course must be approved by the instructor.

For more information

Email SCBItraining@si.edu.

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