Predictability and transferability of local biodiversity environment relationships

Jung, M. (2022). Predictability and transferability of local biodiversity environment relationships. PeerJ 10 e13872. 10.7717/peerj.13872.

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Biodiversity varies in space and time, and often in response to environmental heterogeneity. Indicators in the form of local biodiversity measures–such as species richness or abundance–are common tools to capture this variation. The rise of readily available remote sensing data has enabled the characterization of environmental heterogeneity in a globally robust and replicable manner. Based on the assumption that differences in biodiversity measures are generally related to differences in environmental heterogeneity, these data have enabled projections and extrapolations of biodiversity in space and time. However so far little work has been done on quantitatively evaluating if and how accurately local biodiversity measures can be predicted.

Here I combine estimates of biodiversity measures from terrestrial local biodiversity surveys with remotely-sensed data on environmental heterogeneity globally. I then determine through a cross-validation framework how accurately local biodiversity measures can be predicted within (“predictability”) and across similar (“transferability”) biodiversity surveys.

I found that prediction errors can be substantial, with error magnitudes varying between different biodiversity measures, taxonomic groups, sampling techniques and types of environmental heterogeneity characterizations. And although errors associated with model predictability were in many cases relatively low, these results question–particular for transferability–our capability to accurately predict and project local biodiversity measures based on environmental heterogeneity. I make the case that future predictions should be evaluated based on their accuracy and inherent uncertainty, and ecological theories be tested against whether we are able to make accurate predictions from local biodiversity data.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biodiversity, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Data Science, Spatial and Geographic Information Science
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation (BEC)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2022 08:34
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2022 08:34

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