2014 – SCBI

AniMove: Animal Movement Analysis for Conservation

AniMove 2014 will take place at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC), located at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Virginia, USA, from March 31st to April 11th 2014.


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, modeling, remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).


During Week 1, parmongolian gazelle – credit: Thomas Müllerticipants learn new skills through lectures and hands-on exercises in data collection, management, analysis and modeling approaches.

During Week 2, participants work in small groups on conservation projects with datasets provided by course participants or instructors. Participants are encouraged to bring their own data and research questions to be addressed by one of the working groups. Throughout, the course only uses open source software (R, GRASS, QGIS) and relies mainly on open-access environmental datasets. Evening lectures by noted conservation scientists, movement ecologists, 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 are briefly introduced in the course. Remote sensing, open source GIS, and modeling knowledge are advantageous but not mandatory for participation.



The courses cover various relevant aspects of animal movement analysis:

  • vector-raster intersection
  • derivation of relevant environmental variables
  • Vegetation Indices
  • (un-)supervised land cover classification
  • fractional cover analysis
  • SDMs (GLM, GAM, MaxEnt, SVM)
  • home-range/resource selection
  • BCPA
  • dynamics Brownian Bridges
  • analysis and prediction of animal movements depending on environmental data
  • visualisation of tracking and environmental data
  • and more


Please also see the content of our last AniMove in 2013 for impressions and courses.




March 31-April 11, 2014, 2 full weeks




Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

at the

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA, USA


Application Procedure

Animove: Animal Movement Analysis for Conservation is offered through the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) as a two-week professional training course for 6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

As a prerequisite for admission, please first download the R script exercise found here: R evaluation file. Work through the exercise, save your results as an R script, and email that as an attachment to scbtraining@si.edu with the subject line: Last Name, First Name, AniMove R Coding.

Please then complete and submit the rest of the course application, using the SMSC Online Application Page.  Before beginning the online application, please have .pdf or .doc versions available of your updated 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 these with your application.

We will review all your materials, including your completed R coding exercise, upon receipt of your complete course application.

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. However, if a course participant does not have a laptop computer, we will work out other arrangements for computer use during the onsite course.

Application Deadline:  Applications are reviewed on a first-come first-served basis


Course Costs:

The total cost for this two-week course is $3,478 (Course fee of $2100 + Housing and Dining Package of $1,378).  Those applying as citizens of “less-developed” nations qualify for a reduced course fee of $1200, making the total cost including housing (shared double room) and dining package $2,578. Click HERE to check if your country of citizenship qualifies you for the reduced course fee. Your total course payment includes:

  • Registration fees
  • Instruction, any course materials
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off. Participants should plan to arrive to Dulles International Airport (IAD), by the evening of Sunday, March 30. Course instruction begins 1pm Monday March 31, and ends 5:30 pm Friday April 11.
  • Transportation for course activities.
  • Daily full-service buffet at the SMSC Dining Commons – Dining begins with dinner on Sunday March 30 and ends with brunch on Saturday April 11.
  • Housing at the SMSC Residential Facility, including a shared room with bathroom (single rooms available at extra cost) – Lodging provided includes the nights of Sunday March 30 through Friday April 11, 2014.

Payment Deadline: February 3, 2014



A very limited number of scholarships are available on a competitive basis for eligible international (non-US) applicants. Click HERE for more information on scholarships.



With course coordinator’s written approval in advance of registration/payment, local participants may elect to stay off campus, waive the housing and dining package, and commute to this

download our flyer


course. Meals in the Dining Commons can then be purchased individually as needed.

Principal Course Instructors:

  • Martin Wegmann (LSFE, CEOS, DLR)
  • Kamran Safi (MPI)
  • Peter Leimgruber (SCBI)
  • Justin Calabrese (SCBI)
  • Ned Horning (AMNH)
  • George Wittemyer
  • Eliezer Gurarie
  • Chris Flemming
  • Benjamin Leutner


For More Information:

Email SCBtraining@si.edu


For some impressions on our last AniMove please see the time-table and picture gallery here

Sponsors and organizing institutions:

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