Upscaling biodiversity

Our long-awaited paper on predicting country-scale biodiversity from small plots is out! Of 19 “upscaling” techniques, the most successful method was able to predict total plant richness in the United Kingdom with <10% error, though few techniques were able to recreate the shape of the actual species-area relationship. Kunin, W.E., Harte, J., He, Fangliang, Hui, …
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Phenotypic distribution modeling

Our latest paper in Global Change Biology on modeling intraspecific phenotypic variation has gotten great press!  Combined, the news outlets covering our research reach ~78 million people and included The San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, US News and World Report, The Topeka Capital Journal, The Manhattan Mercury, and numerous other regional newspapers, radio stations (e.g., KWMU 90.7), TV …
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Climate paths and climate change communication

How can we communicate global warming to local audiences (= everybody who lives in a place)? Recently I made a poster showing the locations that climatically currently resemble the future climate of St. Louis. But how did I know where to locate the “future” St. Louis climatically?  By running species distribution models in “reverse”.  First, I …
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Which is worse for biodiversity, a dollar of beef or gasoline?

Which produces more climate change, consumption of gasoline or beef? We have a good idea about the answer to this question.  But now ask, which displaces more biodiversity?  We have no idea–until now.  Just today our article on biodiversity impacts of economic consumption was released in Conservation Letters.  Spearheaded by Justin Kitzes and chaperoned by …
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A Perfect Storm of Threats

Just out: a new analysis by Haydee Hernández-Yáñez and 7 other students at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis and myself on the threats that affect all known rare plants of the US! This is a reprise of the analysis by David Wilcove and colleagues from 1998.  We already got coverage on NPR and Inside Science! …
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Importing NLDAS and GLDAS data into R

OK, I just spent the entire day obtaining and learning how to import the NLDAS and GLDAS data into R.  This could have been made a lot simpler with better meta-data descriptions and “readme” files placed in locations they need placed.  In any case, I’m posting this to save anyone else wanting to use this …
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Weighing the importance of scale

I just finished an exciting read: Schweiger & Beierkuhnlein’s study on how well temperature predicts distribution of 19 vascular plants across 3 spatial scales (ranging from ~<1 m to 1000s of km).  Overall they find regardless of the scale the same optimum temperature is observed (weak scale dependence).  Nonetheless, they also find that the maximum …
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Species distribution models not for species

Have you ever see the number of people who drowned by falling into a swimming pool–films starring Nicholas Cage model?  You might also know it as “linear regression.”  Have you ever seen a species distribution model?  By calling it thus we make the same limiting semantic complexification as in the first case. This post is …
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The fine limits of climate data

Modeling Geum radiatum was very challenging compared to modeling I’ve done before because we know the species specializes on small habitats with microclimates.  And these particular microhabitats are are not well reflected by the coarse-scale climate data that is available.  I used ClimateNA for the basic climate layers. ClimateNA purports to be “scale free” but actually …
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Cliffhanger

I think I was on a long-haul flight across the Pacific when I succumbed to jet-lag induced doldrums and watched Sylvester Stallone’s Cliffhanger which stars him (surprise) as a mountaineer who gets himself out of a dastardly plot by climbing around and flexing his muscles. So if there’s a Rocky of the rare plant world, …
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