Noazesh Knowledge Centre is arranging a five-day long workshop titled Fundamentals of Spatial Ecology and Species Distribution Modelling. The workshop is scheduled to be held from 26 to 30 November in COSMOS Center, Malibagh, Dhaka. Dr Alice C. Hughes from Chinese Academy of Sciences is the chief instructor of this workshop. She is working as Associate Professor at the Centre for Integrative Conservation Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, China.

The goal of this workshop is to train participants in fundamental Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools and techniques using a number of different available software programs, design and implement studies that utilize GIS techniques and avoid potentially confounding biases. Participants will be taught using predictive modelling of various aspects to project species distribution, interpret and analyze the results under different changing conditions.

GIS skills are essential to modern day ecologists. No matter what their specialism, ecologists have had to acknowledge that species and ecological phenomena occur in the real world and that the relationships exist between environmental factors and other species can only be properly understood by acknowledging the spatial relationships and therefore by using GIS techniques.

Species Distribution Modelling (SDM), also known as Environmental (or Ecological) Niche Modelling (ENM), Habitat Modelling, Predictive Habitat Distribution Modelling, and Range Mapping uses computer algorithms to predict the distribution of a species across geographic space and time using environmental data. The environmental data most often are of climate data (e.g. temperature, precipitation) but can include other variables such as soil type, water depth, and land cover. SDMs are used in several research areas such as conservation biology, ecology, and evolution. These models can be used to understand how environmental conditions influence the occurrence or abundance of a species, and for predictive purposes (ecological forecasting). Predictions from an SDM may be of a species' future distribution under climate change, a species' past distribution in order to assess evolutionary relationships or the potential future distribution of an invasive species. Predictions of current and/or future habitat suitability can be useful for management applications (e.g. reintroduction or translocation of vulnerable species, reserve placement in anticipation of climate change). Species distribution modelling techniques also represent powerful and popular tools to extrapolate from the known records of species distribution to predict the potential distribution of a species under various conditions, and better understand factors underlying these distributions.

Students, researchers, conservationists, epidemiologists and public health practitioners could be benefited from this training. Registration is ongoing through the online portal of WildTeam, and much about that are available in or by e-mailing to

Noazesh Knowledge Centre (NKC) is a joint initiative of WildTeam, Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Cosmos Foundation. Named in memory of Dr. Noazesh Ahmed (1935-2009), an inspiring plant genetic scientist and freelance photo artist. NKC was established in March 2011. Equipped with a knowledge hub and convening space in Dhaka, NKC hosts a range of conservation activities where participants come together to actively learn about various environmental issues and facts. Activities include Nature and wildlife expeditions (WildTrip), Seminars (WildHour), conservation related film and documentary show (WildShow), Training programs (WildLearning) and activities such as tree plantation, forest clean-ups and awareness programs (WildAction).

Shajib Borman, Intern, WildTeam

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