Journal article

Is my species distribution model fit for purpose? Matching data and models to applications

Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita, Jose J Lahoz-Monfort, Jane Elith, Ascelin Gordon, Heini Kujala, Pia E Lentini, Michael A McCarthy, Reid Tingley, Brendan A Wintle



Species distribution models (SDMs) are used to inform a range of ecological, biogeographical and conservation applications. However, users often underestimate the strong links between data type, model output and suitability for end-use. We synthesize current knowledge and provide a simple framework that summarizes how interactions between data type and the sampling process (i.e. imperfect detection and sampling bias) determine the quantity that is estimated by a SDM. We then draw upon the published literature and simulations to illustrate and evaluate the information needs of the most common ecological, biogeographical and conservation applications of SDM outputs. We find that, while predict..

View full abstract


Funding Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, the National Environment Research Program (NERP) Environmental Decisions Hub, and ARC Future Fellowships to J.E., M.M. and B.W. The authors thank Laura Pollock for helpful discussion regarding species distribution modelling for phylogenetic studies, and Janet Franklin, an anonymous referee and the editors for comments that improved the quality of the manuscript.