A simple method to estimate the probable distribution of species

28 May 2019

García-Roselló, Emilio ; Guisande Gonzalez, Castor; González Vilas, Luis; González-Dacosta, Jacinto; Heine, Juergen; Pérez-Costas, Elisa; Lobo, Jorge M.

Species distribution models (SDMs) are broadly used to predict species distributions from available presence data. However, SDMs results have been criticized for several reasons mainly related to two basic characteristics of most SDMs: 1) general lack of reliable species absence information, 2) the frequent use of an arbitrary geographical extent (GE) or accessible area of the species. These impediments have motivated us to generate a procedure called Niche of Occurrence (NOO). NOO provides the probable distribution of species (realized niche) relying solely on partial information about presence of species. It operates within a natural geographical extent delimited by available observations and avoids using misleading thresholds to obtain binary presence-absence estimations when the species prevalence is unknown. In this study the main characteristics of NOO are presented, comparing its performance with other recognized and more complex SDMs by using virtual species to avoid the omnipresent error sources of real data sets.