We are organizing a summer school in data-driven ecological synthesis, with support from the Canadian Institute of Ecology & Evolution. You can apply on-line, or read the description below. Enrollment is limited to 20 students. The class will run from April 30 to May 6, at the Laurentians Field Station, just outside of Montréal.

Goals and target audience

This week-long intensive class will give early-career ecologists the tools and skills needed to interact with, manage, clean, analyze data in a transparent and reproducible way. We expect that the attendees are able to turn the computer on, or willing to learn how to do so. We will take care of the rest from here. A passing knowledge of statistics, and programming languages, is good but not required.

We will specifically work on leveraging open data to address new ecological questions at large spatial and temporal scales. You can read more about the approach in a preprint co-authored by students from the 2017 cohort.

Over the course of seven days, including students-led projects to be continued after the class, we will cover:

  • good practices for data management
  • useful statistical and mathematical tools
  • good practices in scientific computing
  • data cleaning and data analysis tools
  • notions of parallel computing for fast data processing
  • data visualization and presentation
  • ensuring reproducibility of analyses

General informations


The summer school will be led by Timothée Poisot (Université de Montréal), and guest appearances by other local ecologists. One or two helpers will be here to facilitate the training.

Timothée is an assistant professor in Quantitative and Computational Ecology. He is a certified Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry instructor, serves on the editorial board of Methods in Ecology & Evolution and PLOS Computational Biology, and on the scientific board of Calcul Québec. His research focuses on the spatio-temporal dynamics of species interactions, and the applications of graph theory to a variety of ecological questions.


The summer school will take place at the Station de Biologie des Laurentides (SBL), operated by the Université de Montréal. Situated in the middle of a series of lakes, in the Laurentians, it is a very pleasant and stimulating place to work and relax. The SBL is also a perfect example of an emblematic Canadian biome, sitting at the transition zone between the urbanized Greater Montréal area and the Canadian shield. It is known to have the best food of all field stations in Canada.


The summer school will take place from Apr. 30 to May 6, 2018. Selected applicants will be notified by the second week of February.


We will take care of the transportation from the Université de Montréal to the field station on the morning on Apr. 30, and from the field station to the Université de Montréal on the afternoon of May 6. Further details will be given to the selected applicants.


Students from Québec universities can get 4 credits for this class through CRÉPUQ (class code BIO6065). Please indicate if you want to claim these credits when applying.


All days will follow the same template – we will have a more formal introduction in the morning, with time for exercises; applications in the afternoon; finally, short research seminars, round table discussions, and bonfires in the evening.

  Morning Afternoon Evening
1 Transport / cohort expectations Data life cycle / management plan installation of required tools
2 Data cleaning with Open Refine Merging and reshaping data using git and github
3 Open data (legal and ethical notions) APIs and automated download learner’s projects brainstorming
4 SQLite 1 SQLite 2 unstructured time
5 Scientific computing 101 Parallel computing unstructured time
6 Projects Projects preliminary presentations
7 Projects Final presentations / Transport  


The registration fees are 252 CAD for UdeM or CRÉPUQ students, and 795 CAD for other students. We have some funds for travel grants, please answer the relevant questions in the application form.

Selected applicants will be notified by the second week of February.