Intra-specific niche partitioning obscures the importance of fine-scale habitat data in species distribution models

Reid Tingley, Tom B. Herman, Mark D. Pulsifer, Dean G. McCurdy, Jeff P. Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Geographic information systems (GIS) allow researchers to make cost-effective, spatially explicit predictions of species' distributions across broad geographic areas. However, there has been little research on whether using fine-scale habitat data collected in the field could produce more robust models of species' distributions. Here we used radio-telemetry data collected on a declining species, the North American wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta), to test whether fine-scale habitat variables were better predictors of occurrence than land-cover and topography variables measured in a GIS. Patterns of male and female occurrence were similar in the spring; however, females used a much wider array of land-cover types and topographic positions in the summer and early fall, making it difficult for GIS-based models to accurately predict female occurrence at this time of year. Males on the other hand consistently selected flat, low-elevation, riparian areas throughout the year, and this consistency in turn led to the development of a strong GIS-based model. These results demonstrate the importance of taking a more sex-specific and temporally dynamic view of the environmental niche.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2455-2467
Number of pages13
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Volume19
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Distribution
  • GIS
  • Glyptemys insculpta
  • Habitat model
  • Niche partitioning
  • Wood turtle

Cite this

Tingley, Reid ; Herman, Tom B. ; Pulsifer, Mark D. ; McCurdy, Dean G. ; Stephens, Jeff P. / Intra-specific niche partitioning obscures the importance of fine-scale habitat data in species distribution models. In: Biodiversity and Conservation. 2010 ; Vol. 19, No. 9. pp. 2455-2467.
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Intra-specific niche partitioning obscures the importance of fine-scale habitat data in species distribution models. / Tingley, Reid; Herman, Tom B.; Pulsifer, Mark D.; McCurdy, Dean G.; Stephens, Jeff P.

In: Biodiversity and Conservation, Vol. 19, No. 9, 06.05.2010, p. 2455-2467.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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