A Guide to Species Distribution Modeling

I recently came across this great document at the Biodiversity Informatics Facility web site. It's a guide to species distribution modeling for conservation educators and practitioners published by the American Museum of Natural History.

The guide will walk you through the theoretical and practical use of GIS and data to create predictive distribution models for virtually any species in virtually any region. Using species occurrence records, survey results, museum collections, or whatever resources may be available, you can characterize the environmental conditions that are suitable for the species. Once those parameters have been determined, you can use various algorithms to model the spatial distribution of environments that meet those criteria. Voila, you have a predictive model that identifies potential habitat for the species. Okay, so maybe it's not quite that simple, but you can check out the guide for more specifics on the steps involved.

The guide is freely available for use by non-profits and non-commercial educational use. I love it when people who want to save the world make their tools and knowledge available for others to use in the same vein. A fundamental part of conservation should be that we all cooperate and share knowledge and tools for the greater good. Kudos to the biologist(s) who put this guide together and made it available on the web.

1 comment:

  1. Good find. Richard Pearson's document is a wonderful introduction to the topic of species distribution modeling. It's a complicated subject and he does a great job of discussing the concepts involved in modeling and the myriad of details that need to be considered in making a good model.