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Workshops are an effective means of training in areas requiring new skills and concentrated attention. BRITE funds workshops on a variety of topics, including workshops focused on particular research areas, on particular research techniques, and/or on professional development.

Students, post-docs, and/or faculty can propose and organize workshops on topics of interest to BRITE trainees. Applications are considered at any time of year.

BRITE Workshop Proposal Form 

Past Workshops


Fall 2016
Spatial Data and Analysis in Ecological and Social Systems 

May 2016
Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to acquire biological data 


Jul 2015
EukRef - Eukaryotic Reference Database Curation 

Apr 2015
Media Training 

Mar 2015
Food Web Workshop 

Mar 2015
R workshop: Maps and spatial data 


Sept 2014
Mathematical Modeling in Ecology and Evolution 

May 2014
Advanced Topics in R: Using formulas for graphics, data aggregation and statistical modelling 

Apr 2014
Species Distribution Modeling workshop 

Apr 2014
Advanced Topics in R: Organizing code in functions and modules for reuse and readability 

Apr/May 2014
The R environment: Introduction and Special Topics (3 half-day sessions) 

Feb 2014
rOpenSci workshop 

Feb 2014
Workshop on accessible and reproducible science 

Jan 2014
Communicating Science: Open Access Publishing, Author Rights and Repositories 


Nov 2013
Presentation Skills Workshop 

Oct 2013
Mathematic Basics for Biodiversity Research 

Sept 2013
Ecopath with Ecosim (EsE) Introductory Workshop 

Sept 2013
R Basics and Beyond 

July 2013
Tools for Scientific Storytelling: Social Media 

Apr 2013
Ecopath with Ecosim (EsE) Introduction to Programming 

Apr 2013
From Secret Source to Open Source: Fundamentals of Intellectual Property

Mar 2013
Media Relations 

Feb 2013
Software Carpentry Bootcamp


Sept 2012
Video Production Workshop 

Sept 2012
Crossing Ecosystem Boundaries 

Sept 2012
Scholarship writing seminar (also offered in 2011) 

Apr 2012
Structural Equation Modeling in R 

Jan 2012
How to effectively deliver talks and capture your audience 


Sept 2011
​Scholarship writing seminar (also offered in 2012) 

Nov 2011
Social Media for Scientists 

May 2011
Workshops co-hosted by BRITE and the Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution meetings 

Mathematical Modeling in Ecology and Evolution with Mathematica(with Sally Otto) 
This workshop will introduce participants to the logic behind modeling in biology, focusing on developing equations, finding equilibria, analyzing stability , and running simulations. All of these techniques will be taught within the software tool, Mathematica. Participants will need to come with a computer with Mathematica loaded (a trial version or a student version is fine).

Statistical Analysis of Biological Data in R (with Dolph Schluter) 
This workshop will introduce students to using R for analyzing data: Intro to R - vectors and data frames; Graphics in R; Introduction to linear models; Linear models in R. Participants should have had an introductory statistics course and should be familiar with topics such as hypothesis testing and standard regression analysis. Participants must arrive with a working version of R loaded on their laptops and will be asked to work through a preliminary assignment ahead of time (further details will be sent out in advance of the workshop).

Phylogenetic analyses in R (with Luke Harmon) 
This workshop will introduce students to manipulating phylogenies within R and using them for comparative analyses. Participants must arrive with a working version of R loaded on their laptops, and the libraries ape, geiger, diversitree, and ouch. Participants will also be asked to work through a preliminary assignment ahead of time (further details will be sent out in advance of the workshop).

Apr 2011
How to get from here to there? A Panel Presentation and Discussion of Career Opportunities in Biodiversity Research 
This BRITE-sponsored panel discussion brought in three panelists representing a spectrum of careers in the biodiversity sciences to discuss non-academic career paths and the elements necessary for success in the non-profit, corporate, and governmental sectors:

  • Dr. Greg Sharam, Rescan Environmental Services Ltd., Terrestrial Ecology Discipline Lead
  • Christianne Wilhelmson, M.Sc., Executive Director, Georgia Strait Alliance
  • Dr. Stephanie Hazlitt, Conservation Science and Policy Specialist, BC Ministry of Environment

Panelists discussed the paths that they took to their current successes and the advice that they have for others interested in careers in organizations outside of academia.

Apr 2011
Media Training Workshop 
Ever wonder what you would say if a journalist called you up about your latest paper? Or wondered how you could communicate your research to a broader audience? This afternoon workshop, hosted by Brian Lin, M.J. (Senior Communications Co-ordinator, UBC Public Affairs Office) and Chris Balma (Director, Communications UBC Science), provided guidance on communicating science with the Media.

Mar 2011
Bayesian Population Genetic Data Analysis 
In this workshop, Dr. Kent Holsinger (University of Connecticut) will give an introduction to the basics of Bayesian inference and F-statistic estimation using a Bayesian approach. This abridged version will be based on the highly successful module that Kent has delivered for 10 years with Bruce Weir as part of the Summer Institute of Statistical Genetics. The second part of the workshop will be interactive, focusing on problem solving with your data sets! This is an amazing opportunity to get insight into the best approaches and options for addressing your research questions. Among the possible options to discuss are those implemented in Structure, BayesAss+, Structurama, Geneland, Migrate, Lamarc, Geste, BiMR, etc.

Feb 2011
Bioinformatics workshop: Coding in Python 
In this workshop, students will be guided through the process of scripting using Python, with the goal that they (a) can get a few basic things done right away, (b) can figure out if they like Python, and (c) figure out where to go to learn more. The main examples will include basic text-file parsing (i.e., converting data in an Excel spreadsheet into something suitable for input into R) and using Python to link together different tools. The workshop will finish with a tour of the Python world, to give an idea of some of the other Python-related tools that are available (like NumPy and BioPython).

Feb 2011
Bioinformatics workshop: Using UNIX 
This half day workshop will cover everything from moving around your computer to writing shell scripts to submitting jobs on remote machines.

Feb 2011
Creating your own Research Database: Linking with Major Biodiversity Information Systems such as FishBase and SeaLifeBase 
There is a great need for databases on biodiversity, but we should avoid reinventing the wheel. Take the empty shell of FishBase (the most successful biodiversity database to date; see and apply/modify it to your data. SeaLifeBase, built from an empty FishBase shell in 2006 using the Catalogue of Life as a taxonomic backbone and now available as a searchable online information system (, is the proof that this concept works. The workshop will show potential users how FishBase and SeaLifeBase models can be used to create their own research databases by using other resources and focusing their efforts on their topics of interest.


Oct 2010
Introduction to Project Management 
This workshop is presented by Robyn Roscoe, BSc, PMP (Head, Strategic Planning and Project Management, BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre). Robin will describe strategies for successful project management. This three-part workshop covers: Introduction and Scope Management, Time Management, and Communications and Risk Management. [Primary organizer: UBC's Working on Walls Training Program]

Sept/Oct 2010
Spatial Data Analysis in Ecology and Evolution 
This workshop is intended to provide students with a working knowledge of spatial data and the software, techniques and major issues related to spatial analysis in ecology and evolution. Focusing on specific examples and run laboratory-style, the workshop will be geared towards students who are interested in incorporating spatial data into their research but for whom a full course in spatial data analysis is beyond the scope of their needs and/or prohibitive with respect to time commitment. The workshop will be organized into a series of independent modules, each led by people with specific expertise in the topic at hand. Topics to be covered include: 1) Introduction to spatial data and data management in geographic information systems 2) Spatial statistics 3) Landscape genetics/ connectivity 4) Species distribution modeling and 5) Ecological reserve design and selection.

June 2010
Bioinformatics Workshop: Coding in PERL 
This workshop is intended to provide researchers with little or no bioinformatics background the skills and knowledge to begin working with large scale genomic data sets. During the course of the workshop we will introduce basic perl programming, sequence search algorithms, features of current next-generation genomic data, and cleaning and assembly of genomic data sets. Workshop leaders are Drs. Mike Barker & Katrina Dlugosch

Apr/May 2010
Filmmaking Tools for the Working Scientist 
Communication of research findings to the public using video is easier and more accessible than ever. This 2-week immersion workshop will introduce 16-20 students to the use of video as a means to communicate scientific and natural history information. Workshop leaders are Jeff Morales (National Geographic Television & VONIGO Films) and Dr. Colin Bates (Bamfield Marine Sciences). Topics will include story selection, planning, writing, camera technique, voiceovers, technical aspects of video and audio production, video and audio editing, project output, and distribution. By the end of the two-week workshop, pairs of students will each produce a short film. These short films will subsequently be showcased at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.


Nov 2009
The Meaning and Role of Theory in Evolutionary Biology 
This workshop is a graduate student initiative, involving students in the Biodiversity Research Centre and Philosophy. This year's topic is the meaning and role of theory in evolutionary biology. This central question will be asked in the light of recent developments within the field. A group of distinguished philosophers and biologists will be giving their perspectives and engaging in fruitful discussion. Faculty and graduate students interested in the foundations of biology are welcome.

Nov 2009
Biodiversity Research Centre Science Writing Workshop 
The first part of this workshop will focus on skills needed to write publishable scientific manuscripts, taught be UBC Professor Iain Taylor, who has extensive experience with science writing workshops. The second part will focus on making scientific research more accessible to a broader audience, taught by reknowned journalist Carl Zimmer (New York Times Book Review has called Zimmer "as fine a science essayist as we have"). The goals of this workshop are: a) to teach graduate students and postdocs the key components of writing a scientific manuscript, and b) to improve students' and postdocs' abilities to translate scientific concepts and findings to popular press. Overall the goal of the workshop is to improve the communication skills of science graduate students and postdocs. The ability to successfully communicate the importance of our research to a broader audience is crucial to attaining support for scientific research from the public and government.