Summer school: Path analysis in ecology (ECL 705,
1 to 5 M
Information you will
need before registering
How to register
How to get to the
University of Sherbrooke
R functions to download before the course
Analyse des pistes en écologie I (Path analysis in Ecology) MSc. level
ECL 805 Analyse des pistes en écologie II (Path analysis in
Ecology) PhD level
(Please note these
course codes; you will need to enter them when registering)
Ecologists often pose cause-and-effect hypotheses involving
several variables in systems for which controlled randomised experiments are not
possible. When this occurs one must use a set of statistical methods
called "structural equations modelling" or "path analysis". In this
intensive five-day course you will learn the basics of these methods and how to
apply them in your ecological research. Theoretical sessions will be
interspersed with practical sessions using the free R software. You are
encouraged to use your own data sets whenever possible. Both courses (ECL
705, ECL 805) involve an exam. The content of these two courses is
identical (they are given together) except that the PhD level course includes a
facultative written report that can be handed in following the end of classes;
I will comment on this report but no mark will be given.
A maximum of 30 people can take this course and prioriy will be given to
graduate students. You can
arrive after 4PM on the 30th of April 2017 if you choose to say in the
University dormitory. Courses begin immediately
following breakfast on the 1st of May. You must vacate your room by 4PM on
the 5th of May.
The course content follows Shipley, B. 2016. Cause and
correlation in biology: A user's guide to path analysis, structural equations,
and causal inference with R, Cambridge University Press. You can order your
copy from CUP or from
Since this summer school targets an international audience,
the language of instruction is English but questions in French are welcome.
The course is given on the campu of the University of Sherbrooke in association with the Centre for Forest Studies
(CEF) and the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science (CSBQ). Scholarships are
available to student members of these two research centres; see the respective
web sites for more details. You are responsible for obtaining these
(1) You must be a graduate student (MSc, PhD) or post-doc.
Priority will be given to students who are officially registered in this course.
Others can audit the course if space is available.
(2) Have a basic knowledge of statistical analysis (inferential
tests, correlation, regression and linear models)
(3) Have a basic knowledge of the R statistical software
(4) Have a portable computer with R installed before the
start of the course, including the following libraries: lavaan, ggm and
You can download and install this software here.
covered (including practical
sessions for each)
Experimental methods, control of variables and their
relationship with SEM
The concept ofd-separation and the logic of the dsep
Extensions of dsep models to more complex data types:
glm, mixed models, phylogenetic corrections; the piecewiseSEM library
Covariance algebra; Structural equations; Free/fixed
parameters; ML chi-square; the logic of SEM
The lavaan package in R for SEM; fitting, testing SEM;
The concept of latent variables; measurement models;
fitting with lavaan
Types of latent variables and their importance for
The full SEM model; robust methods; Monte Carlo
chi-square; approximate fit indices
Multigroup models; phylogenetic corrections
You do not have to pay for registration! Your only costs are for travel
and for lodging/food.
Lodging at the University residences is available at 45$/night for single rooms
and 62$/night for double rooms (+ taxes). Payment and reservations must be done online here by the
31st of March 2017 without exception. Food can be purchased at the cafeteria or you
can cook you own food in the residence.
These courses are part of the course offerings of the Biology Department of the
University of Sherbrooke.
Students registered in another Quebec university can
also register via the CRÉPUQ:
https://mobilite-cours.crepuq.qc.ca/4DSTATIC/FRAccueil.html and this will
automatically register the credit at their home university.
Students from universities outsite Quebec must find out from their home
institutions if these credits can be
recognised and, if so, how to arrange the transfer. To obtain an official
transcript for this course from the Université de Sherbrooke, go to:
(1) Graduate students already registered at the
Université de Sherbrooke: Register in the normal way via your fiche
d'inscription, then inform me of this via email:
(2) Graduate students from other Quebec universities:
Register via the CRÉPUQ:
https://mobilite-cours.crepuq.qc.ca/4DSTATIC/FRAccueil.html, then inform me
of this via email:
Bill.Shipley@USherbrooke.ca or register directly at the Université de
(3) All other people: assemble the
necessary documents below, fill out this
registration form and send it, along with scanned copies any other documents
(passport page, CAQ etc.) to
If you are a registered student in another Quebec
university and don't register via the CRÉPUQ:
Canadian student registered in another Quebec
: permanent code number et a copy of your birth certificate.
Canadian student registered in another Canadian
province: a copy of your birth certificate.
Permanent resident: reco-verso copy of your permanent
resident card, copy of your birth certificate and a copy of your CSQ
(certificat de sélection du Québec), if applicable.
Permanent resident who is now a Canadian citizen : copy
of your citizenship card and a copy of your birth certificate.
Foreign citizen: copy of your passport, a copy of
your CAQ (certificat d’acceptation du
Québec) and a copy of your study permit.
If you are registered as a student in a
Canadian university outside of Quebec:
Canadian citizen and Quebec resident
: permanent code number and a copy of your birth certificate.
Candian citizen from another province : copy of
your birth certificate
Permanent resident: recto-verso copy of your permanent
resident card and a copy of your birth certificate.
Permanent resident who is now a Canadian citizen :
recto-verso copy of you citizenship card and a copy of your birth
Foreign citizen: a copy of your passport and a copy of
your student permit.
If you do not have the status of a student in
Canadian citizen: a copy of your birth certificate
Permanent resident of Canada: a recto-verso copy of
your permanent resident card, a copy of your birth certificate and a copy of
your : CSQ (certificat de sélection du Québec), if applicable.
Permanent resident who is now a Canadian citizen: a
recto-verso copy of your citizenship card and a copy of your birth
Foreign citizen: a copy of your passport
First, please carefully read the above section detailing the information and papers
needed for registration. After having assembled all of these, follow the
information given above.
The deadline for registration, including receipt of all necessary
documents, is March 31st 2017.
Please download and fill out this WORD
form, save it, and return it to me at
Bill.Shipley@USherbrooke.ca. You will be required to provide a credit
You can purchase food at the cafeteria either on a per-meal basis or by
purchasing a week-long card when you arrive.
If you are coming from the Trudeau
Airport in Montreal, then go to the main bus terminal in Montreal, either
by taxi (~35$) or by public transport:
To go by
public transport you take the bus 747 (a shuttle) from the
airport to the downtown “Berri UQUAM” Métro station (subway stop and bus
At the bus terminal, purchase an express bus ticket to Sherbrooke.
The trip is approximately 2 hours. Some of these buses stop at the
Université de Sherbrooke campus; others will take you to the Sherbrooke bus
terminal. From there you can either take a taxi to the main campus or take
a local bus.
If you drive to the campus then it is possible to get a parking
d-separation and exploratory methods (PPT)
path analysis and maximum likelihood (PPT)
measurement models and maximum likelihood (PPT)
Grace and Bollen latent constructs (PPT)
SEM details (Chapter 6) (PPT)
Intuitive introduction and d-separation (PPT)
An R cheatsheet for ggm and lavaan
An introduction to