A short-course on analyzing ecological community data, demonstrated using the PC‑ORD software package.

i. Need.tif     WimeaValley_OahuHI_987.jpg

Upcoming Courses

    The PC-ORD Multivariate webinar now has more options!

    The content of this course is now offered in three formats:

    1. The live synchronous course (M-F, 10-12/13-15) will continue to be offered, once there is sufficient enrollment.  Email peckj@psu.edu now to be put on the waiting list (please include your preferred months and years).  Once enough participants are on the list, we'll do a scheduling poll.  This is the perfect option for procrastinators who need a live course to get motivated!
    2. A recording of a previous course (ten 2-hr videos) can be made available asynchronously 24/7 for two-weeks, with at least two weeks of notice.  This is the best option for those who need to learn this material ASAP.
    3. Two for-credit asynchronous courses are now available from the Center for Wildlife Studies.  This option is for those who would like to earn 1-2 academic credits or CEUs from the Ecological Society of America or The Wildlife Society.

     Visit the Webinars page for more details on these formats.

    About the Course

    This short-course on multivariate analyses, with demonstrations in the PC‑ORD software, has been developed to provide training in three areas:

    1. multivariate analyses commonly used on community datasets (which tools do what);
    2. a 10-step analysis process for defensible analysis and interpretation (how to approach your analysis); and
    3. the PC‑ORD software (through version 7) (how to actually do it).

    Tools are introduced, explained, and demonstrated in the order in which you would use them while conducting an analysis. Topics include:

    • importing, screening, and structuring your dataset(s) prior to analysis
    • exploring and preparing the data for analysis and selecting the appropriate tools
    • guided ordination tools (weighted averaging, polar ordination, CCA, RDA, fuzzy set ordination)
    • free ordination tools (PCA, NMS)
    • classification tools (agglomerative cluster analysis)
    • group-testing tools (MRPP, PerMANOVA, Indicator Species Analysis)
    • association assessment tools (Mantel Test, Fourth Corner Analysis)
    • interpretation, manipulation, and communication of graphics

    Training Options


    Synchronous live webinars (via Zoom) are available with sufficient enrollment, with instructor support (i.e., you may submit questions during the live course as well as email questions to the instructor). 

    Asynchronous attendance is also possible by watching recordings of all ten sessions (posted 24/7 for a period of 2 weeks), with instructor support (i.e., you may email questions to the instructor).

    Asynchronous for-credit courses are now available from the non-profit Center for Wildlife Studies.

    Host an In-Person Workshop

    The PC‑ORD training can also come to you, if you:

    • are in a location I'd like to visit :)
    • have ~10 interested participants OR have high-speed internet access that would permit a simultaneous webinar offering
    • have a meeting room set up in classroom style with a computer/laptop for the instructor and a computer projector with screen

    Workshops cover the same 20-hrs of contact time as the webinars, using the same software, sample datasets, and required companion book (see webinars page above for details), but are taught in person, providing an opportunity for more intimate one-on-one consultation with both instructors.


    Trainings are taught by Dr. JeriLynn Peck, who studied with the author of the software (Dr. Bruce McCune) at Oregon State University and has been offering workshops since 1997.  Dr. Eric K. Zenner, with a background in applied univariate statistics, provides assistance during in-person workshops.


    Registration fees for most trainings are in the $500-$750 range, with lower fees for students ($300-$450) and workshop hosts.  This fee does not include the software or companion book, which must be ordered from the software distributor.  Payment may be made online by credit card (or by check).  Certificates of completion are available upon request.


    Average evaluation scores, based on 2022-2024 participants (N = 60) on a scale from 1 (worst) to 7 (best):

    course: 6.8

    instructor: 6.9

    Short-course or Self-study?

    If you are self-driven, you may be able to successfully work through the required companion book on your own.  If you are in a hurry, however, or learn best by doing/listening rather than reading, then a short-course may be best for you.  Not sure?  Order a copy of the companion book now and try reading through it on your own; then, if you decide to attend a short-course after all, you'll already have it and be able to sign up on short notice.

    Past Trainings

    Over 80 trainings have been held online or in person throughout the United States and abroad. Past workshop hosts have included:

    • Estonian Institute of Life Sciences, Estonia
    • Institute of Technology, Sligo, Ireland
    • National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
    • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Canada
    • Technical University of Dresden, Germany
    • University of Kaiserslautern, Germany
    • University of Cape Town, South Africa
    • University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
    • University of Alaska International Arctic Research Center, Fairbanks, AK
    • Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, AK
    • California State University, Sacramento, CA
    • University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
    • Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
    • University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
    • University of Massachusetts Cranberry Biological Station, East Wareham, MA
    • Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
    • Antioch New England Graduate School, Keene, NH
    • Clemson State University, Clemson, SC
    • Universidad del Turabo, Gurabo, Puerto Rico
    • US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ
    • US Geological Survey, Davis, CA
    • USGS Utah Water Science Center, Salt Lake City, UT
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Newport, OR
    • US Park Service, Fairbanks, AK
    • US Park Service Santa Monica Mountains NRA, Thousand Oaks, CA
    • US Park Service, Minneapolis, MN
    • Western Fisheries Research Center, Seattle, WA
    • US Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO
    • USDA Mt. Hood National Forest, Sandy, OR
    • USDA Forest Service, Davis, CA
    • USDA Forest Service at Research Triangle Park, Raleigh, NC
    • USDA Southern Research Station, Knoxville, TN
    • Aquatic Ecology Limited, Christchurch, New Zealand
    • Missouri Department of Conservation, Columbia, MO
    • NatureServe, Blaine, WA

    About PC‑ORD

    We are not affiliated with the software company.  We use it for the demonstrations, however, because as one of the few statistical packages specifically designed for community analyses PC‑ORD brings together in one place many relevant analyses that are otherwise only found scattered among different software packages.  Further, because PC‑ORD was written with community ecologists in mind, it includes several procedures and options that are best suited for species data yet found nowhere else.  Current trainings cover procedures available in PC‑ORD version 7, but because later versions of PC‑ORD build on previous versions, everything in version 6 will be covered during the training--plus additional features in version 7.  Thus, if you have not updated to version 7, everything in versions 5 and 6 will be covered plus there will be some new tools introduced that you don't yet have.

    If you are curious or have questions or advice you'd like to share with the PC‑ORD community, consider joining the PC‑ORD GoogleGroup.