Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

This is our great pleasure to invite you to a practical workshop on Geographic Analysis of Biodiversity Data at Koç University (Istanbul, Turkey) from 01 to 07 May 2023. Prof.Dr Donald L. Swiderski, and Prof. Dr Miriam Leah Zelditch (from the University of Michigan) will teach how to integrate geographic, shape, and phylogenetic data in the related analysis in a practical way. In this course instructors will introduce different conceptual biological reasons why it might be interesting to examine biodiversity data in a geographic context, focusing on the relationships between species richness, trait similarity, and phylogeny, as well as patterns of turnover in those relationships. In this overview, they will discuss what these can reveal about patterns of community assembly, in situ diversification vs immigration, as well as the potential connections between these patterns and environmental/climatic/elevational gradients. This course also will be Hybrid, and those people who can not come to the workshop venue physically can connect remotely using a specific Zoom link which will be defined for the course.

Prof. Dr. Donald L. Swiderski
Research Laboratory Specialist
Intermediate and Adjunct Assistant Research Scientist
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, USA

I am an evolutionary biologist interested primarily in the relationship between morphological changes and functional transitions in both evolution and ontogeny. I use quantitative analyses of skeletal shape data to gain a better understanding of (a) what morphological attributes actually differ between species or growth stages in different ecological roles, and (b) the relevance of morphological change to functional or ecological change. My recent research has focused on the relationship between diversity and disparity in squirrels, using quantitative analyses of jaw shape. I also am interested in locomotion and the relationship between locomotory and dietary transitions, and in form-function relationships throughout the animal kingdom.


Prof. Dr. M. Zelditch
Associate Research Scientist
Museum of Paleontology
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, USA

I am an evolutionary biologist interested in the relationship between diversification and morphological evolution.  The geographic landscape is central to theories of diversification, and the adaptive landscape is equally central to theories of adaptive evolution, so integrating these two landscapes promises a general theory for the generation and maintenance of diversity of both species and their morphologies. I use models of adaptive evolution, combined with geographic distributions of species and their morphologies, to analyze the relationship between species richness and morphological diversity over time and space.


1.      Basics of geometric morphometrics
2.      Overview of the course
3.      Resources
4.      Software
Introduction to shape data
1.      Landmarks and semilandmarks
2.      Objectives of a shape analysis: How to think about landmark selection
3.      Criteria for selecting landmarks
4.      When to include semilandmarks
5.      How landmarks and semilandmarks differ
6.      Digitizing landmarks and semilandmarks
Getting shape data from landmark coordinates
1.      Operations that remove non-shape variation
2.      Procrustes superimposition
3.      Landmarks
4.      Semilandmark sliding
5.      Loading datafiles, sliders file, superimposition
Statistical Theory of Shape
1.      Theoretical foundations of shape analysis
2.      Shape spaces and distances
a.      Configuration space
b.      Space of centered shapes
c.      Pre-shape space
d.     The Space Of Aligned Pre-shapes at CS=1
e.      Kendall’s shape space
f.       Tangent space
g.      Revisiting semilandmarks
Coordinate Systems and Ordination Methods
1.      Getting a basis for the tangent space
2.      Visualizing variation and interpreting patterns
a.      Within groups (Principal Components Analysis (PCA))
b.      Between groups (Canonical Variates Analysis, Between-group PCA, Finite-Mixture Analysis
Statistics (1)
1.      Introduction to statistics
2.      Statistical models
3.      Testing for statistical significance
4.      Measuring the size of an effect
Statistics (2): More complex designs
1.      Multifactorial models
2.      Interaction terms and phenotypic trajectory analysis
a.      Testing for differences in trajectory direction
b.      Testing for differences in trajectory length
3.      Mixed models
4.      Unbalanced designs
5.      Types of sums of squares
Phylogenetic Comparative Methods
1.      Phylogenetic Generalized Least Squares
2.      Visualizing shape variation in phylogenetic context
a.      Phylomorphospace
b.      Phylogenetic Principal components Analysis
3.      Modeling the dynamics of phenotypic Evolution
Geographic analyses of shape and phylogenetic disparity
1.      Metrics of shape and phylogenetic disparity
2.      Analyzing disparity in geographic context
a.      Getting geographic data
b.      Integrating geographic, shape and phylogenetic data
3.      Analyzing relationships between geographic, shape and phylogenetic data
When to include semilandmarks
How landmarks and semilandmarks
Digitizing landmarks
Shape Data
Getting from Landmarks to shape
Landmarks and Semilandmarks
Statistical theory of shape
Ordination Methods
Principal Components Analysis
Canonical Variates Analysis
Between-groups Principal Components Analysis
Relative eigenanalysis
Statistical Methods
Statistical Methods: Ordinary Least Squares
Statistical Methods: Generalized Least Squares
Modeling dynamics of Phenotypic Evolution

Workshop venue

May can be considered the unofficial start of the summer in Istanbul, with an average temperature of 20°C and precipitation of 34 mm. May is great for city sightseeing and museum hopping, staying outdoors, and a good month for some popular festivals and events.

Koç university is not far from Istanbul airport and you can take the bus, taxi and use the subway to reach the workshop venue. We will share more detailed information with the registered people.

About Istanbul

About Koç University

Course class no. ENGB32 Koç University. We expect that the participants are familiar with R at least in the basics.

Registration and payment

Early Registration fee until 20 May: 295 Euros
Late Registration fee: 350 Euros

To pay the registration fees use the following links:

Important consideration: If you want to use a bank transfer, please ask a bank to write the explanation (the reason for sending money) that you are paying the publication fee of your paper in the Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity. For bank transfers, we just accept EURO (For Turkish Authors, the equivalent amount in TL is acceptable).

If you are paying by Western Union or RIA, please make sure that you are writing the correct name and surname as follows: Receiver Name: SERAY, Receiver surname: ALTINTAŞ

Please consider that to send by WU or RIA send Money as SENDING TO FAMILY MEMBERS, not otheroptions like ‘goods and services which may be blocked in Turkey.

  1. Sending by Western Union or RIA

Name and Surname: Seray Altintaş

Country and state: Turkey, Istanbul

Please select the menu of ‘Sending money to family members because other types may be blocked or charged for tax.

  • Sending cryptocurrencies Tether (USDT) is possible. To receive the link for payment please send an email to or copy this link for sending USDT: TGXgbxpM6pUSsK9CsL1CxvLf7sVwK3xn9e
  • Bank transfer to one of these banks: ONLY EURO (We don’t accept dollars)

BANK NAME/ADDRESS: YapıKredi A.Ş. 938-Koç  universitesi Şubesi, Istanbul, Turkey SORT CODE: 938

ACCOUNT NAME/NUMBER: Morteza Naderi 56325274

IBAN NUMBER:  TR180006701000000056392276


Please share the payment link using the following email address:

In the workshop venue, there are various economic restaurants and students’ dining halls that can be used by the participants. For accommodation, we are negotiating with some hotels to provide discounted affordable fees for the participant but we don’t expect the hotel fees to be more than 50 Euros per night. There are also some accommodations with lower fees like less than 40 Euro per night. There are also some accommodation facilities on the campus which are around 30 Euros per night and can be booked upon request.

An attendance certificate will be given to the participants upon their request

Registration Link:

Coordinator: Associ. prof. Dr. Morteza Naderi