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ENM2020: A Free Online Course and Set of Resources on Modeling Species' Niches and Distributions

  • Author(s): Peterson, A Townsend;
  • Aiello-Lammens, Matthew;
  • Amatulli, Giuseppe;
  • Anderson, Robert;
  • Cobos, Marlon;
  • Diniz-Filho, José Alexandre;
  • Escobar, Luis;
  • Feng, Xiao;
  • Franklin, Janet;
  • Gadelha, Luiz;
  • Georges, Damien;
  • Guéguen, M;
  • Gueta, Tomer;
  • Ingenloff, Kate;
  • Jarvie, Scott;
  • Jiménez, Laura;
  • Karger, Dirk;
  • Kass, Jamie;
  • Kearney, Michael;
  • Loyola, Rafael;
  • Machado-Stredel, Fernando;
  • Martínez-Meyer, Enrique;
  • Merow, Cory;
  • Mondelli, Maria Luiza;
  • Mortara, Sara;
  • Muscarella, Robert;
  • Myers, Corinne;
  • Naimi, Babak;
  • Noesgaard, Daniel;
  • Ondo, Ian;
  • Osorio-Olvera, Luis;
  • Owens, Hannah;
  • Pearson, Richard;
  • Pinilla-Buitrago, Gonzalo;
  • Sánchez-Tapia, Andrea;
  • Saupe, Erin;
  • Thuiller, Wilfried;
  • Varela, Sara;
  • Warren, Dan;
  • Wieczorek, John;
  • Yates, Katherine;
  • Zhu, Gengping;
  • Zuquim, Gabriela;
  • Zurell, Damaris
  • et al.
Abstract

The field of distributional ecology has seen considerable recent attention, particularly surrounding the theory, protocols, and tools for Ecological Niche Modeling (ENM) or Species Distribution Modeling (SDM). Such analyses have grown steadily over the past two decades—including a maturation of relevant theory and key concepts—but methodological consensus has yet to be reached. In response, and following an online course taught in Spanish in 2018, we designed a comprehensive English-language course covering much of the underlying theory and methods currently applied in this broad field. Here, we summarize that course, ENM2020, and provide links by which resources produced for it can be accessed into the future. ENM2020 lasted 43 weeks, with presentations from 52 instructors, who engaged with >2500 participants globally through >14,000 hours of viewing and >90,000 views of instructional video and question-and-answer sessions. Each major topic was introduced by an “Overview” talk, followed by more detailed lectures on subtopics. The hierarchical and modular format of the course permits updates, corrections, or alternative viewpoints, and generally facilitates revision and reuse, including the use of only the Overview lectures for introductory courses. All course materials are free and openly accessible (CC-BY license) to ensure these resources remain available to all interested in distributional ecology.

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