Revisiting a basic tenet of ecology with new tools:Habitat Suitability Maps and analysis of the ecological niche for conservation

Mapping current species distribution is becoming a critical issue for conservation ecology. Habitat Suitability Maps make a great contribution in studying niche characteristics relating the observed distribution of species to sets of environmental variables. In this work, a new computational and graphical approach has been used to study species- environment relationships using the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA). We aimed to overcome the inefficient management of large geospatial information proper of the available software Biomapper and adehabitat library. With that purpose, Ecological Niche in R-GRASS library (ENiRG) is developed as a tool to compute ENFA,by interfacing GRASS, a GIS with optimal management capabilities, and R, a powerful object oriented program-language. In this study we used two fieldwork presence-only datasets on Holothuria arguinensis, collected across the Ria Formosa lagoon (Portugal);those provided calibration and validation data sets to test and validate the performance of the library. Our results show the potentiality of ENiRG in performing ENFA overhigh resolution and wide area, without technical constraints.

ISCED Categories

The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management