Aim: Understanding the processes underlying the distribution of species through space and time is fundamental in several research fields spanning from ecology to spatial epidemiology. Correlative species distribution models rely on the niche concept to infer or explain the distribution of species, though often focusing only on the abiotic component of the niche (e.g. temperature, precipitation), without clear causal links to the biology of the species under investigation. This might result in an oversimplification of the complex niche hypervolume, resulting in a single model formula whose estimates and predictions lack ecological realism. Location: Not applicable. Time Period: Not applicable. Major Taxa Studied: Virtual species. Materials and Methods: We believe that a causal perspective associated with a finer definition of the modelling target is necessary to develop more ecologically realistic outputs. Here, we propose to infer the geographical distribution of a species by applying the modelling relation approach, a causal conceptual framework developed by the theoretical biologist Robert Rosen, which can be formalized through structural equation modelling. Results: Our findings suggest that building a model relying on a strong conceptual basis improves the stability of the estimated model's coefficients, without necessarily increasing the predictive accuracy metrics of the model. Main Conclusions: Including causal processes underlying the spatial distribution of species into an inferential formal system highlights the methodological steps where uncertainty can arise and results in model outputs which are tightly linked to the ecology of the target species.

Towards causal relationships for modelling species distribution / Da Re, D.; Tordoni, E.; Lenoir, J.; Rubin, S.; Vanwambeke, S. O.. - In: JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY. - ISSN 0305-0270. - 51:5(2024), pp. 840-852. [10.1111/jbi.14775]

Towards causal relationships for modelling species distribution

Da Re, D.
;
2024-01-01

Abstract

Aim: Understanding the processes underlying the distribution of species through space and time is fundamental in several research fields spanning from ecology to spatial epidemiology. Correlative species distribution models rely on the niche concept to infer or explain the distribution of species, though often focusing only on the abiotic component of the niche (e.g. temperature, precipitation), without clear causal links to the biology of the species under investigation. This might result in an oversimplification of the complex niche hypervolume, resulting in a single model formula whose estimates and predictions lack ecological realism. Location: Not applicable. Time Period: Not applicable. Major Taxa Studied: Virtual species. Materials and Methods: We believe that a causal perspective associated with a finer definition of the modelling target is necessary to develop more ecologically realistic outputs. Here, we propose to infer the geographical distribution of a species by applying the modelling relation approach, a causal conceptual framework developed by the theoretical biologist Robert Rosen, which can be formalized through structural equation modelling. Results: Our findings suggest that building a model relying on a strong conceptual basis improves the stability of the estimated model's coefficients, without necessarily increasing the predictive accuracy metrics of the model. Main Conclusions: Including causal processes underlying the spatial distribution of species into an inferential formal system highlights the methodological steps where uncertainty can arise and results in model outputs which are tightly linked to the ecology of the target species.
2024
5
Da Re, D.; Tordoni, E.; Lenoir, J.; Rubin, S.; Vanwambeke, S. O.
Towards causal relationships for modelling species distribution / Da Re, D.; Tordoni, E.; Lenoir, J.; Rubin, S.; Vanwambeke, S. O.. - In: JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY. - ISSN 0305-0270. - 51:5(2024), pp. 840-852. [10.1111/jbi.14775]
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Journal+of+Biogeography+-+2023+-+Da Re+-+Towards+causal+relationships+for+modelling+species+distribution+(1)_compressed (1).pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione editoriale (Publisher’s layout)
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 4.41 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
4.41 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/408458
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 0
social impact