Distribution of benthic marine invertebrates at northern latitudes ― an evaluation applying multi-algorithm species distribution models

Different techniques of species distribution modeling were applied to evaluate the distribution of eight benthic marine species in Icelandic waters. The species examined were Symplectoscyphus tricuspidatus, Stegopoma plicatile (both Hydrozoa), Prionospio cirrifera, Amphicteis gunneri (both Polychaeta), Desmosoma strombergi, Eurycope producta (both Isopoda), Andaniella pectinata and Harpinia crenulata (both Amphipoda). Information on 13 environmental variables (temperature mean, temperature mean SD, temperature minimum, temperature maximum, salinity mean, salinity mean SD, oxygen content, particulate organic carbon, seasonal variation index, bottom roughness, sediment thickness, acidification) and records of occurrences of these eight species was collated in an ArcGIS project. Modeling methods applied were MARS, TreeNet, and MaxENT. According to Area under the receiver operating curve (AUC) model assessment values, models with moderate to outstanding discriminatory power were found for all species. There was a good overlap in the overall pattern of prediction for most species independent on the modeling technique. Among the three applied techniques MARS seemed to generalize most whereas TreeNet predictions very precisely reflected information from the training data set. The distribution of the selected benthic invertebrate species in Icelandic waters could be linked to a variety of environmental factors related to oceanography, seabed topography and human impact. Their multivariate interactions acted as a structuring force of species distribution, instead of just their one by one individual influence. The selected predictors varied between the different models for the same species. They substituted each other in different models. The expected distribution of the examined species was mapped for a seascape of known environmental settings. Such maps will serve as excellent references in future impact studies and enable the detection of changes in the distribution of benthic marine invertebrates.

Meißner K., Fiorentino D., Schnurr S., Martinez Arbizu P., Huettmann F., Holst S., Brix S. & Svavarsson J., in press. Distribution of benthic marine invertebrates at northern latitudes ― an evaluation applying multi-algorithm species distribution models. Journal of Sea Research. Article (subscription required).


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