2016 – MPI

AniMove course in September 2016

September 18th – 30th, 2016

AniMove: Animal Movement Analysis for Conservation is offered as a two-week professional training course.

Animal movement is critical for maintenance of ecosystem services and biodiversity. The study of complex movement patterns and of the factors that control such patterns is essential to inform conservation research and environmental management. Technological advances have greatly increased our ability to track, study, and manage animal movements. But analyzing and contextualizing vast amounts of tracking data can present scientific, computational, and technical challenges that require scientists and practitioners to master new skills from a wide range of computational disciplines.

AniMove, a collective of international researchers with extensive experience in these topics, teaches a two-week intensive training course for studying animal movement. This two-week course focuses on interdisciplinary approaches linking animal movement with environmental factors to address challenging theoretical and applied questions in conservation biology. To achieve this, participants will acquire significant skills in computational ecology, movement data pre-processing and analysis, modeling, remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

During Week 1, participants learn new skills through lectures and hands-on exercises in data collection, management, analysis and modeling approaches. During Week 2, participants work in alone or in small groups on projects with datasets provided by course participants or instructors. Participants are encouraged to bring their own data and research questions to be addressed by themselves or by one of the working groups.

Throughout, the course only open source software (R, GRASS, QGIS) is used and all analysis rely mainly on open-access environmental datasets. Evening lectures by noted movement ecologists, conservation scientists, and remote sensing experts supplement instruction, providing the broader context of animal movement and remote sensing analysis.

Admission to this two-week course requires prior working knowledge of R, including the ability to write and troubleshoot scripts for processing and analyzing data. Participants must be familiar with common R operations such as data frame subsetting, data inspection, package/library structure and handling of error messages. We do not cover/review these skills during the course itself! More advanced techniques such as functions and loops might be briefly introduced in the course, but the main focus will be focusing on the actual analysis of animal movement and remote sensing data analysis. Remote sensing, GIS, and modeling knowledge are advantageous but not mandatory for participation.


September 18th – 30th, 2016batearedfox_small


Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology, Lake Konstanz

Application Procedure

Please submit one (1) .pdf file with your CV (resume), a Personal Statement of Interest and Qualifications (maximum 350 words), and a letter of recommendation from someone familiar with your professional/academic work. You will be asked to attach the recommendation form with your application, but it can also be send separately. Please state clearly what your animal movement analysis and R skills are and what you expect from AniMove.

We ask that each course participant bring his/her own laptop computer, with R, GRASS, and QGIS (all free software) pre-installed, to the onsite course. This also facilitates participants’ putting newly learned skills to use quickly in their own projects post-course. Moreover, you should have at least the following R packages installed: move, raster, RStoolbox, sp, rgdal

Application deadline March 1, 2016 – Application closed

Course Costs

Payment Deadline: April 1st, 2016
The total cost for this two-week course is 1600 EUR. AniMove is a non-profit initiative, all lecturer are not paid. Fees are used to cover expenses.

Course fee includes:

  • Instruction, course participations and course materials
  • Transportation for course activities
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner (except weekends where excursions are possible)
  • Housing at the MPI facility, including a shared room with bathroom
  • welcome and farewell dinner


For more information and submission of application: application closed