What is it about?

Amphibians are organisms that can live in both land and water habitats. Global amphibian populations have been declining for the past few years. One of the major contributors to this is climate change. "Species distribution models” (SDMs) can predict how suitable habitats for amphibians change under climate change. But these predictions are affected by the choice of modeling approach. In this study, the authors conducted a literature review of studies that use correlative SDMs. They paid special attention to model selection and "overparametrization," or the addition of extra parameters to the model. This can lead to "overfitting," which affects how reliable the model's predictions are. The authors then conducted a case study with three amphibian species to see how this affects predictions.

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Why is it important?

SDMs can help us understand how species are distributed across habitats. They can also tell us how climate change will affect habitats in the future. This can help us identify areas for habitat restoration or conservation. It will also help us plan how to conserve and manage amphibian populations. This review shows how modeling approach, model selection, and overparametrization can affect predictions. It says that we need to revisit older predictions to account for these factors. We also need to account for additional climate scenarios in these predictions. Finally, the review talks about how we need to project habitats across more species and regions. KEY TAKEAWAY: SDMs can help predict how climate change will affect amphibian habitats. But modeling approach and overparametrization affect the predictions made by SDMs. We need to revisit older predictions to account for these factors. We also need to expand them to include more climate scenarios. Finally, we need more predictions across more species and regions. This will help us create effective conservation and management plans.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Clearing up the Crystal Ball: Understanding Uncertainty in Future Climate Suitability Projections for Amphibians, Herpetologica, June 2020, Herpetologists League, DOI: 10.1655/0018-0831-76.2.108.
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