Accuracy of plant assemblage predictions from species distribution models varies along environmental gradients

Details

Serval ID
serval:BIB_B7E63B35B231
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Accuracy of plant assemblage predictions from species distribution models varies along environmental gradients
Journal
Global Ecology and Biogeography
Author(s)
Pottier J., Dubuis A., Pellissier L., Maiorano L., Rossier L., Randin C.F., Vittoz P., Guisan A.
ISSN
1466-822X
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2013
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
22
Number
1
Pages
52-63
Language
english
Abstract
Aim: Climatic niche modelling of species and community distributions implicitly assumes strong and constant climatic determinism across geographic space. This assumption had however never been tested so far. We tested it by assessing how stacked-species distribution models (S-SDMs) perform for predicting plant species assemblages along elevation.
Location: Western Swiss Alps.
Methods: Using robust presence-absence data, we first assessed the ability of topo-climatic S-SDMs to predict plant assemblages in a study area encompassing a 2800 m wide elevation gradient. We then assessed the relationships among several evaluation metrics and trait-based tests of community assembly rules.
Results: The standard errors of individual SDMs decreased significantly towards higher elevations. Overall, the S-SDM overpredicted far more than they underpredicted richness and could not reproduce the humpback curve along elevation. Overprediction was greater at low and mid-range elevations in absolute values but greater at high elevations when standardised by the actual richness. Looking at species composition, the evaluation metrics accounting for both the presence and absence of species (overall prediction success and kappa) or focusing on correctly predicted absences (specificity) increased with increasing elevation, while the metrics focusing on correctly predicted presences (Jaccard index and sensitivity) decreased. The best overall evaluation - as driven by specificity - occurred at high elevation where species assemblages were shown to be under significant environmental filtering of small plants. In contrast, the decreased overall accuracy in the lowlands was associated with functional patterns representing any type of assembly rule (environmental filtering, limiting similarity or null assembly).
Main Conclusions: Our study reveals interesting patterns of change in S-SDM errors with changes in assembly rules along elevation. Yet, significant levels of assemblage prediction errors occurred throughout the gradient, calling for further improvement of SDMs, e.g., by adding key environmental filters that act at fine scales and developing approaches to account for variations in the influence of predictors along environmental gradients.
Keywords
species distribution models (SDMs), species diversity, community assembly, plant traits, elevation gradient, assembly rules
Web of science
Create date
27/03/2012 9:22
Last modification date
20/08/2019 15:26
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