SIG Spatial Ecology and Biogeography

For many avifaunistical and ecological questions spatial information about the distribution and the habitat requirements of birds including their limiting factors are essential. Thereby, studies may take place on different spatial scales: on a small scale e.g. of a nature reserve, on a large scale of a country or a zoogeographical region or even on a global biogeographical scale. On a temporal scale the timeframe may reach from days or weeks up to historic-evolutionary times. To cope with such a broad field of research, the SIG “Habitat Analysis” founded in 2005 was renamed. However, the SIG “Spatial Ecology and Biogeography” regards itself as the direct successor of the SIG “Habitat Analysis” and emphasizes the continuity in aims and tasks.

Aims of the SIG

Target group are all persons working with spatial ornithological data. Topics cover autecological as well as synecological questions from habitat analyses and environmental planning to species distribution modelling and phylogeography to questions about spatial distribution and cross-linking of avian migration.

Core areas of the SIG

•    Classical habitat analysis
•    Modern methods of distribution modelling
•    Application of geographical information systems (GIS) as well as remote sensing methods
•    Biogeography and phylogeography
•    Landscape genetics and habitat connectivity
•    Macroecology

The SIG regards itself as a network for the exchange of information about the spatial ecology of birds as well as for teaching by training courses and symposia.

Figure: Examples of ornithological spatial analyses: (above) habitat model of distribution and abundance of the Nuthatch in the Taunus area; (centre left) spatial model of density areas of the migration of small birds in the Eifel area; (centre right) modelled map of Estrildid finch diversity in Africa; (below) global estimation of environmental suitability for the Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild)

Meetings and activities

In order to guarantee regular internal exchange, meetings take place during DO-G conventions as well as during additional meetings and events.

Former Events

In 2006 the SIG realised an international workshop on “Advances in statistical modelling of faunal distribution: Global and local applications”.

In 2009 and 2011 the SIG gave a three- and a five-day training course on habitat analysis and habitat modelling.

In 2013 a half-day course on species distribution modelling and ecological niche modelling was offered during the DO-G convention.

In 2014 a symposium was organized on the DO-G convention.


Participants of the SIG can be contacted by our E-mail list. If you are interested in participation, you can contact the spokesmen or join by writing an empty e-mail to fg-biogeo+subscribe(at) We look forward to new members!


Jan Engler
Zoological Researchmuseum Alexander Koenig
Sections of Herpetology and Ornithology
Adenauerallee 160
D-53113 Bonn / Germany
phone: +49-(0)651 420 55 79

Darius Stiels
Zoological Researchmuseum Alexander Koenig
Section of Ornithology
Adenauerallee 160
D-53113 Bonn / Germany
phone: +49 (0)228 9122230