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Antarctic Biodiversity Informatics (EG-ABI)

rOpenSci seal track over bathymetry webSCAR is pleased to partner with the rOpenSci project and the Antarctic Biodiversity Portal in organising a short course on tools for Southern Ocean spatial analysis and modelling using R.  The course will be held from 2-6 September 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.

Course Scope

This course will teach participants how to retrieve, model and interpret species occurrence data from the Southern Ocean using R-tools developed through the Antarctic R community. In hands-on sessions, participants will learn how to find, download and clean data using R packages and how to display these data on Antarctic (polar projection) maps. The course will introduce various ways of analyzing the data including Species Distribution Modelling (SDM). It is targeted at Polar Early Career Scientists, but open to any research students or scientists who require these skills in their work.

Course Objectives

Our aim is that by the end of the course students will be equipped to:

  • Set up a workflow for the retrieval, cleaning and analysis of Southern Ocean biological data,
  • Learn which R packages can be used to do this,
  • Learn about species distribution models and how to develop them,
  • Apply these new insights to their own data.

Course Length

The first part of the course (3 days) will focus on introducing various R packages and overall workflows. The second part of the course (2 days) will be a hands-on opportunity for participants to work on their own data with the assistance of the course instructors. You can choose to only register for the first part of the course if you prefer.

The course is targeting Polar Early Career scientists, but is open to any other research students or scientists that require these skills for their work. There is space for a maximum of 20 participants.


Some experience in the computer language R is desirable, and experience with GIS is helpful. All participants must bring their own personal laptop. If you are not sure if your experience in R is sufficient, you should follow the one of the free online courses below:



Fees and Funding

There is a 75 euro registration fee for the course. The fee include full participation in the course, and digital copies of the course material, as well as coffee breaks and a small lunch. Participants will need to arrange their own travel and accommodation, but limited travel support will be available in collaboration with the SCAR Ant-Eco research program.


The deadline for applications is Friday 15 June 2019. After this date, you will be notified of the offer of a place and sent an invoice for the course fee. The deadline for payment is Friday 7 July 2019. Failure to pay will lead to your place being offered to someone else.

You can register using this course registration form.

If you have questions or suggestions you can create an issue on the github page. Alternatively you can contact (at)

Additional information and updates will be available on github course website:

Code of Conduct

To ensure a safe, enjoyable, and friendly experience for everyone who participates, we have a strict code of conduct that all participants are expected to follow.