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Modelling Skylarks (Alauda arvensis) to predict impacts of changes in land management and policy: development and testing of an agent-based model.

Topping CJ, Odderskær P, Kahlert J - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: However, there has been some reluctance to use these models for policy applications due to complexity and the need for improved testing and communication of the models.Detailed and stringent tests for model performance were carried out, and standardised model description and open access to the source code were provided to open development of the skylark model to others.Over and above documenting the utility of the model, this open process is essential to engender the user trust and ensure continued development of these comprehensive systems for applied purposes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Bioscience, University of Aarhus, Rønde, Denmark. cjt@dmu.dk

ABSTRACT
Agent-based simulation models provide a viable approach for developing applied models of species and systems for predictive management. However, there has been some reluctance to use these models for policy applications due to complexity and the need for improved testing and communication of the models. We present the development and testing of a comprehensive model for Skylark (Alauda arvensis) in Danish agricultural landscapes. The model is part of the ALMaSS system, which considers not only individual skylarks, but also the detailed dynamic environment from which they obtain the information necessary to simulate their behaviour. Population responses emerge from individuals interacting with each other and the environment. Model development and testing was carried out using pattern-oriented modelling. The testing procedure was based on the model's ability to represent detailed real world patterns of distribution and density, reproductive performance and seasonal changes in territory numbers. Data to support this was collected over a 13-year period and comprised detailed field observations of breeding birds and intensive surveys. The model was able to recreate the real world data patterns accurately; it was also able to simultaneously fit a number of other secondary system properties which were not formally a part of the testing procedure. The correspondence of model output to real world data and sensitivity analysis are presented and discussed, and the model's description is provided in ODdox format (a formal description inter-linked to the program code). Detailed and stringent tests for model performance were carried out, and standardised model description and open access to the source code were provided to open development of the skylark model to others. Over and above documenting the utility of the model, this open process is essential to engender the user trust and ensure continued development of these comprehensive systems for applied purposes.

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Comparison of the seasonal distribution of the number of territorial pairs observed in the Kalø study area on fields without (A) and with (B) scrapes, and those predicted by the ALMaSS skylark model.
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pone-0065803-g005: Comparison of the seasonal distribution of the number of territorial pairs observed in the Kalø study area on fields without (A) and with (B) scrapes, and those predicted by the ALMaSS skylark model.

Mentions: Fits to the within season patterns for the two Kalø fields with and without scrapes were surprisingly good (R2 = 0.906 and 0.898, respectively) considering that the number of pairs present were low (5 & 6), and hence variation of only one pair would have altered the fit dramatically. Without scrapes the model birds increased in numbers between day March 16th and May 2nd, remained constant until day June 2nd, then began to give up their territories until day June 24th (Fig. 5A). With scrapes the pattern was similar up to day May 2nd, at which point there was another increase in pair numbers, which was maintained until the end of the observations on day July 3rd (Fig. 5B). In this case, model predictions tended to overestimate numbers in early season.


Modelling Skylarks (Alauda arvensis) to predict impacts of changes in land management and policy: development and testing of an agent-based model.

Topping CJ, Odderskær P, Kahlert J - PLoS ONE (2013)

Comparison of the seasonal distribution of the number of territorial pairs observed in the Kalø study area on fields without (A) and with (B) scrapes, and those predicted by the ALMaSS skylark model.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3675089&req=5

pone-0065803-g005: Comparison of the seasonal distribution of the number of territorial pairs observed in the Kalø study area on fields without (A) and with (B) scrapes, and those predicted by the ALMaSS skylark model.
Mentions: Fits to the within season patterns for the two Kalø fields with and without scrapes were surprisingly good (R2 = 0.906 and 0.898, respectively) considering that the number of pairs present were low (5 & 6), and hence variation of only one pair would have altered the fit dramatically. Without scrapes the model birds increased in numbers between day March 16th and May 2nd, remained constant until day June 2nd, then began to give up their territories until day June 24th (Fig. 5A). With scrapes the pattern was similar up to day May 2nd, at which point there was another increase in pair numbers, which was maintained until the end of the observations on day July 3rd (Fig. 5B). In this case, model predictions tended to overestimate numbers in early season.

Bottom Line: However, there has been some reluctance to use these models for policy applications due to complexity and the need for improved testing and communication of the models.Detailed and stringent tests for model performance were carried out, and standardised model description and open access to the source code were provided to open development of the skylark model to others.Over and above documenting the utility of the model, this open process is essential to engender the user trust and ensure continued development of these comprehensive systems for applied purposes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Bioscience, University of Aarhus, Rønde, Denmark. cjt@dmu.dk

ABSTRACT
Agent-based simulation models provide a viable approach for developing applied models of species and systems for predictive management. However, there has been some reluctance to use these models for policy applications due to complexity and the need for improved testing and communication of the models. We present the development and testing of a comprehensive model for Skylark (Alauda arvensis) in Danish agricultural landscapes. The model is part of the ALMaSS system, which considers not only individual skylarks, but also the detailed dynamic environment from which they obtain the information necessary to simulate their behaviour. Population responses emerge from individuals interacting with each other and the environment. Model development and testing was carried out using pattern-oriented modelling. The testing procedure was based on the model's ability to represent detailed real world patterns of distribution and density, reproductive performance and seasonal changes in territory numbers. Data to support this was collected over a 13-year period and comprised detailed field observations of breeding birds and intensive surveys. The model was able to recreate the real world data patterns accurately; it was also able to simultaneously fit a number of other secondary system properties which were not formally a part of the testing procedure. The correspondence of model output to real world data and sensitivity analysis are presented and discussed, and the model's description is provided in ODdox format (a formal description inter-linked to the program code). Detailed and stringent tests for model performance were carried out, and standardised model description and open access to the source code were provided to open development of the skylark model to others. Over and above documenting the utility of the model, this open process is essential to engender the user trust and ensure continued development of these comprehensive systems for applied purposes.

Show MeSH