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Scale effects on the performance of niche-based models of freshwater fish distributions: Local vs. upstream area influences

  • Niche-based species distribution models (SDMs) play a central role in studying species response to environmental change. Effective management and conservation plans for freshwater ecosystems require SDMs that accommodate hierarchical catchment ordering and provide clarity on the performance of such models across multiple scales. The scale-dependence components considered here are: (a) environment spatial structure, represented by hierarchical catchment ordering following the Strahler system; (b) analysis grain, that included 1st to 5th order catchments; and (c) response grain, the grain at which species respond most, represented by local and upstream catchment area effects. We used fish occurrence data from the Danube River Basin and various factors representing climate, land cover and anthropogenic pressures. Our results indicate that the choice of response grain – local vs. upstream area effects – and the choice of analysis grain, only marginally influence the performance of SDMs. Upstream effects tend to better predict fish distributions than corresponding local effects for anthropogenic and land cover factors, in particular for species sensitive to pollution. Key predictors and their relative importance are scale and species dependent. Consequently, choosing proper species dependent spatial scales and factors is imperative for effective river rehabilitation measures.

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Author:Danijela Markovic-Bredthauer, Oskar Kärcher
Title (English):Scale effects on the performance of niche-based models of freshwater fish distributions: Local vs. upstream area influences
Parent Title (English):Ecological Modelling
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2019
Release Date:2019/09/13
Tag:Catchment order; Conservation planning; Danube; Freshwater fish; Species distribution modelling; Upstream area
Faculties:Fakultät WiSo
DDC classes:300 Sozialwissenschaften / 333.7 Natürliche Ressourcen, Energie und Umwelt
Review Status:Veröffentlichte Fassung/Verlagsversion
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International