Multivariate methods for ecologists

Last changed: 31 October 2022
An ordination plot with plant species names, graph.

The Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment and the Research school Focus on Soil and Water at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences invites PhD students to attend the course "Multivariate methods for ecologists".


Next course occasion will be autumn 2023 (probably October). An invitation will be distributed in June or August 2023. We do not accept applications before the invitation is sent, but we can put interested students on the send list.

During the Covid pandemic we learned that this course works well as an online course. Thus, the whole course will be online, to minimize travels and to facilitate participation from other countries.


The course aims to illustrate the application of a number of multivariate methods on ecological data. Following the course, participants should be familiar with different multivariate techniques, and how they can be applied on various types of data. The course will focus on developing an understanding of the application of multivariate techniques, with only a minimum amount of effort placed on comprehending the underlying mathematical detail.

After the course, the students should be able to analyse multivariate ecological data using R.


A number of ordination and classification procedures will be demonstrated, such as cluster analysis, correspondence analysis (CA), canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), redundancy analysis (RDA), principle components analysis (PCA), partial least square-analysis (PLS) and more. The course literature consists of 10 papers that will be distributed at the start of the course.

The course is given in two parts. Part 1 consists of lectures and calculation exercises, and part 2 is a supervised project on your own data. You can take either only part 1, or the full course. Part 1 gives 3 credits, and the full course 4.5 credits.