Article: article from journal or magazin.
Measuring ecological niche overlap from occurrence and spatial environmental data
Global Ecology and Biogeography
1. Aim - Concerns over how global change will influence species distributions, in conjunction with increased emphasis on understanding niche dynamics in evolutionary and community contexts, highlight the growing need for robust methods to quantify niche differences between or within taxa. We propose a statistical framework to describe and compare environmental niches from occurrence and spatial environmental data.¦2. Location - Europe, North America, South America¦3. Methods - The framework applies kernel smoothers to densities of species occurrence in gridded environmental space to calculate metrics of niche overlap and test hypotheses regarding niche conservatism. We use this framework and simulated species with predefined distributions and amounts of niche overlap to evaluate several ordination and species distribution modeling techniques for quantifying niche overlap. We illustrate the approach with data on two well-studied invasive species.¦4. Results - We show that niche overlap can be accurately detected with the framework when variables driving the distributions are known. The method is robust to known and previously undocumented biases related to the dependence of species occurrences on the frequency of environmental conditions that occur across geographic space. The use of a kernel smoother makes the process of moving from geographical space to multivariate environmental space independent of both sampling effort and arbitrary choice of resolution in environmental space. However, the use of ordination and species distribution model techniques for selecting, combining and weighting variables on which niche overlap is calculated provide contrasting results.¦5. Main conclusions - The framework meets the increasing need for robust methods to quantify niche differences. It is appropriate to study niche differences between species, subspecies or intraspecific lineages that differ in their geographical distributions. Alternatively, it can be used to measure the degree to which the environmental niche of a species or intraspecific lineage has changed over time.
Centaurea stoebe, ecological niche model, kernel density, niche conservatism, niche equivalency, niche similarity, ordination, Solenopsis invicta, species distribution model, virtual species, GLOBAL LAND AREAS, DATA SETS MATTER, SPECIES DISTRIBUTIONS, GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS, CLIMATE-CHANGE, EVOLUTION, PREDICTION, INVASION, MODELS, CONSERVATISM
Web of science
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