Paleoecological Data Analysis with R

31.03 - 06.04.2014
San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
Contact person:
Julieta Massaferro, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Workshop report: 
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Paleoecological Data Analysis with R is an intensive 7-day course that will provide participants with training in the theory and practice of analysing palaeolimnological data
using the free R software environment. 

brc alta

This educational meeting is focused on PhD (in the last year of their course), Post-docs and young researchers from (or working in) Latin-American countries with a good English knowledge.

The course will be led by Dr Steve Juggins (Newcastle University), who will give the lectures and computer practicals.  Drs Courtney Wigdahl (University of Maine, USA), Isabelle Larocque (University of Bern, Switzerland) and Diego Navarro (University of Mar del Plata, Argentina) will assist in the computer practicals and provide one-to-one guidance and advice on analysis of students’ own data.

Juggins has authored R packages for analyzing paleoecological data and is co-editor of the book “Data Handling and Numerical Techniques” in the series “Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments” published by Springer in 2012.

Overall goal

The overall goal of the course is to contribute to the education of early-career scientists from South American countries working in paleoecology and Quaternary Science by providing training in the use of R for analysing paleoecological and paleoenvironmental data, with an emphasis on multivariate analysis of biological proxies, quantitative environmental reconstructions and age-depth modelling.

The course will train participants in state-of-the-art statistics and the theory and practice of analysing palaeoecological data using the free R software environment. The R statistical language and environment has become increasingly popular in recent years, in part because it is a free open source application and because it is incredibly powerful and easily extended via add-on packages. This course will address both the essential numerical understanding and the R skills required to handle, process and analyze paleoecological data.

Course topics

The course will comprise a mix of lectures and computer sessions with time available in the evenings for students to work on their own data and for discussions with the course leaders. Participants will be expected to bring their own laptops with R installed.

Each topic will be presented using a 30-45 minute lecture and 1-2 hour practical. The lecture will introduce the theory of each set of methods and models, discuss their assumptions, and give participants the knowledge to enable them to identify the type of model appropriate for a particular data analytical problem. The following practical will reinforce the understanding of the lecture material as you apply the techniques to datasets to address real palaeoecological questions.

The course content is applicable to all time scales relevant to PAGES science from decadal to millennial, Anthropocene to Pleistocene. You are particularly encouraged to bring your own data to discuss and work on during the course.

Course venue and logistics

The course will be held at CENAC, a Program of the Nahuel Huapi National Park, whose aim is the study and conservation of the biodiversity in northern Patagonia.

San Carlos de Bariloche is a city located within the rainforest region the Nahuel Huapi National Park area, in northern Patagonia, in the eastern part of the Andes mountains. The area of Bariloche is an excellent location for paleoecological studies as it's the glacial lake district area of Argentina.

The course will be limited to 20 participants with accommodation TBC.  The total cost of the course is USD 50, which includes food, accommodation and course materials. Financial support from PAGES will partially cover the course costs for all of the participants.


Deadline for registration is 28 February 2014.

To register please complete this form and return it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Students are encouraged to work through this material in preparation for the course ... download.