What can community ecologists learn from species distribution models?

Stephen Murphy and Adam Smith are happy to see their article on how community ecologists can employ species distribution models to crack hard questions in community ecology! What can community ecology learn from species distribution models? [open access]Murphy, S.J. and Smith, A.B. 2021. Ecosphere 12:e03864. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.3864

The decimation of Madagascar’s rainforest habitat

It is honestly with sadness that I announce our new publication on the fate of Madagscar’s rainforest habitat in Nature Climate Change. Modeling deforestation assuming the lowest rate of deforestation across the period 2000-2014, I could only get the rainforest to last to the 2070s… and the highest rate of loss occurred in 2018, outside …
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Niche estimation above and below the species level

If ‘nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,’ then why model species as if they appeared through spontaneous creation? Now out: our paper on estimating niches while accounting for intra- and interspecific evolution! Smith, A.B., Godsoe, W., Rodríguez-Sánchez, F., Wang, H-H., and Warren, D. 2019. Niche estimation above and below the …
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Welcome to our new postdoc, Kelley Erickson!

We are excited to serve as the new intellectual home of Kelley Erickson, a recent graduate of the University of Miami where she studied the demography of the highly invasive shrub Schinus terebinthifolia (Brazilian peppertree). Kelley is working on incorporating issues related to detectability in species distribution models in a project sponsored by the Institute …
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NSF Advances in Biological Informatics

Awesome news! We were just informed that the National Science Foundation will fund our proposal to use pollen, genetic, and distributional data to estimate the spatial dynamics of how trees migrated poleward after the last glacial maximum.  This is a collaborative project with Sean Hoban (Morton Arboretum), Andria Dawson (Mount Royal University), John Robinson (Michigan …
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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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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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