Sensitivity of predictive species distribution models to change in grain size

Guisan, Antoine, Graham, Catherine H., Elith, Jane, Huettmann, Falk, Dudik, Miro, Ferrier, Simon, Hijmans, Robert, Lehmann, Anthony, Li, Jin, Lohmann, Lúcia G., Loiselle, Bette, Manion, Glenn, Moritz, Craig, Nakamura, Miguel, Nakazawa, Yoshinori, Overton, Jacob McC., Peterson, A. Townsend, Phillips, Steven J., Richardson, Karen, Scachetti-Pereira, Ricardo, Schapire, Robert E., Williams, Stephen E., Wisz, Mary S., and Zimmermann, Niklaus E. (2007) Sensitivity of predictive species distribution models to change in grain size. Diversity and Distributions, 13 (3). pp. 332-340.

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Predictive species distribution modelling (SDM) has become an essential tool in biodiversity conservation and management. The choice of grain size (resolution) of environmental layers used in modelling is one important factor that may affect predictions. We applied 10 distinct modelling techniques to presence-only data for 50 species in five different regions, to test whether: (1) a 10-fold coarsening of resolution affects predictive performance of SDMs, and (2) any observed effects are dependent on the type of region, modelling technique, or species considered. Results show that a 10 times change in grain size does not severely affect predictions from species distribution models. The overall trend is towards degradation of model performance, but improvement can also be observed. Changing grain size does not equally affect models across regions, techniques, and species types. The strongest effect is on regions and species types, with tree species in the data sets (regions) with highest locational accuracy being most affected. Changing grain size had little influence on the ranking of techniques: boosted regression trees remain best at both resolutions. The number of occurrences used for model training had an important effect, with larger sample sizes resulting in better models, which tended to be more sensitive to grain. Effect of grain change was only noticeable for models reaching sufficient performance and/or with initial data that have an intrinsic error smaller than the coarser grain size.

Item ID: 2333
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1472-4642
Keywords: environmenal grain; niche-based modelling; natural history collections; presence-only data; resolution; spatial scale; sample size; species distribution modelling; model comparison; predictive performance
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2009 04:33
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 51%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 49%
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