R without fear: an R course in Evolutionary Ecology

  • Lecturer(s) or Responsible(s): Jordi Moya-Laraño (Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas – CSIC)
  • Department Responsible: Departamento de Biologia Animal (FCUL)
  • Data: November 23rd, 2015 to November 27th, 2015
  • Deadline for Applications: October 23rd, 2015
  • Duration: 36 hours
  • Schedule: 9h-12h30 and 14h-17h30, Monday-Thursday; 9h-13h and 14h-18h Friday
  • Nº (min, max) Students: 10 to 20
  • Location: Room 4.2.07, bloco C4, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande 1749-016 Lisboa


This course aims to give basic skills in R, but with some applications in the field of Evolutionary Ecology


This course can have a recognition of 6 ECTs for FCUL PhD students enrolling in it as part of their first doctoral year. For FCUL PhD students only requiring 5 ECTs recognized in their specific PhD programmes the last 6 hours of the course are not mandatory and the certificate will be on 'Topics in R without fear’.


Minimum formation: bachelor degree in Biology or related areas

Directed to: PhD or MSc students in Ecology, Geography or related areas, postdocs and professionals working in related topics

General Plan

Introduction to the R working environment

 Variable types in R

 Statistical populations and samples through working examples

 Measurements of central tendency and variability

 Precision, accuracy and bias

 Hypothesis testing: Falsability, Type-I and II errors and statistical power

 Correlation and simple regression

 P-value vs. effect magnitude

 Linear Models: residuals, assumptions and interpretation.

 Explained vs. unexplained variance of a model (the coefficient of determination).

 Building functions in R

 Introduction to graphics in R

 The concept of partial effect: partial regression and correlation

 General Linear Models (GLM)

 Curve fitting in linear models and General Additive Models (GAMs)

 The problem of spatial autocorrelation in ecology and evolution

 Multicolinearity: when is there a problem?

 Additive vs. multiplicative effects: checking and plotting interactions

 Introduction to General and Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM)

 Fixed vs. Random effects and implications for analysis: main R functions

 Introduction to Bayesian statistics: the function MCMCglmm

 Practical examples in evolutionary ecology:

The study of natural selection

Applications of linear models for quantitative genetics

 Student’s case studies


Students fees.




Free for 1st year PhD students in the Doctoral programme in Biology (FCUL), Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution (UL; UP) and Biology and Ecology of Global Changes (UL, UA); 20 € for PhD students from institutions of the PEERS network (cE3c, CFE); 100 € for FCUL Master students and unemployed; 150 € for BTI, BI and other PhD students; 200 € for Professionals and postdocs

Contacts for Inscription

Candidates should send a short CV and a motivation letter to Jordi Moya-Laraño at the following email address: