Incorporating Biotic Relationships Improves Species Distribution Models: Modeling the Temporal Influence of Competition in Conspecific Nesting Birds

Author(s): Rachel R. Fern, Michael L. Morrison, Hsiao-Hsuan Wang, William E. Grant, and Tyler A. Campbell

Published: July 2019

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Complex, biotic interactions are notably excluded from species distribution models (SDMs) as they are often difficult to quantify and accommodate in a traditional modeling framework, especially those with a temporal component. The territorial nature of breeding Cactus wren is well-documented and typically involves nest usurping (i.e., destruction) of conspecifics. Due to their similar nesting ecology, breeding Verdin are frequently the target of such behavior and are often forced to move or abandon nests. Using the Verdin/Cactus wren system as a case study, our goal was to evaluate the performance of SDMs that include only environmental predictors with SDMs that also include biotic relationships as predictors.

Suggested Citation

Fern, R.R., M.L. Morrison, H.H. Wang, W.E. Grant, and T.A. Campbell. 2019. Incorporating biotic relationships improves species distribution models: Modeling the temporal influence of competition in conspecific nesting birds. Ecological Modelling 408(15): DOI 10.1016/108743.

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