How complex should models be? Comparing correlative and mechanistic range dynamics models
Global Change Biology
© 2017 Commonwealth of Australia. Global Change Biology © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Reason for embargo
Criticism has been levelled at climate-change induced forecasts of species range shifts that do not account explicitly for complex population dynamics. The relative importance of such dynamics under climate change is, however, undetermined because direct tests comparing the performance of demographic models versus simpler ecological niche models are still lacking owing to difficulties in evaluating forecasts using real-world data. We provide the first comparison of the skill of coupled ecological-niche-population models and ecological niche models in predicting documented shifts in the ranges of 20 British breeding bird species across a 40-year period. Forecasts from models calibrated with data centred on 1970 were evaluated using data centred on 2010. We found that more complex coupled ecological-niche-population models (that account for dispersal and metapopulation dynamics) tend to have higher predictive accuracy in forecasting species range shifts than structurally simpler models that only account for variation in climate. However, these better forecasts are achieved only if ecological responses to climate change are simulated without static snapshots of historic land use, taken at a single point in time. In contrast, including both static land use and dynamic climate variables in simpler ecological niche models improves forecasts of observed range shifts. Despite being less skilful at predicting range changes at the grid cell level, ecological niche models do as well, or better, than more complex models at predicting the magnitude of relative change in range size. Therefore, ecological niche models can provide a reasonable first approximation of the magnitude of species’ potential range shifts, especially when more detailed data are lacking on dispersal dynamics, demographic processes underpinning population performance, and change in land cover.
The Australian Research Council supported D.A.F, C.B. and B.W.B (FT140101192, DP1096427, FT100100200, respectively). M.B.A and D.N. acknowledge support from the Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/AAG-GLO/0463/2014 and CIBIO - UID/BIA/50027/2013 (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006821) and the Danish NSF.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Published online 20 November 2017
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Leandro, Jorge (University of ExeterCentre for water systems, 2008-09-22)The research presented in this Thesis aims at defining the strengths and weaknesses of an Improved 1D/1D model when compared with a more accurate 1D/2D model. Although both coupled-models (sewer/surface) solve the St.\ ...
Limb darkening laws for two exoplanet host stars derived from 3D stellar model atmospheres: Comparison with 1D models and HST light curve observations Hayek, W.; Sing, David K.; Pont, F.; Asplund, M. (EDP Sciences for European Southern Observatory (ESO), 2012)We compare limb darkening laws derived from 3D hydrodynamical model atmospheres and 1D hydrostatic MARCS models for the host stars of two well-studied transiting exoplanet systems, the late-type dwarfs HD 209458 and HD ...
Lin, Congping (University of ExeterBiosciences, 2012-07-19)In Ustilago maydis hyphae, bidirectional transport of early endosomes (EEs) occurs on microtubules (MTs) that have plus and minus ends. The transport is powered by kinesin-3 towards the plus ends of MTs and dynein towards ...