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Use of Anecdotal Occurrence Data in Species Distribution Models: An Example Based on the White-Nosed Coati (Nasua narica) in the American Southwest.

Frey JK, Lewis JC, Guy RK, Stuart JN - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Bottom Line: We found that the predicted distribution of the coati based on datasets that included anecdotal occurrence records were similar to those based on datasets that only included physical evidence.We concluded that occurrence datasets that include anecdotal records can be used to infer species distributions, providing such data are used only for easily-identifiable species and based on robust modeling methods such as maximum entropy.Use of a reliability rating system is critical for using anecdotal data.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA. jfrey@nmsu.edu.

ABSTRACT
Species distributions are usually inferred from occurrence records. However, these records are prone to errors in spatial precision and reliability. Although influence of spatial errors has been fairly well studied, there is little information on impacts of poor reliability. Reliability of an occurrence record can be influenced by characteristics of the species, conditions during the observation, and observer's knowledge. Some studies have advocated use of anecdotal data, while others have advocated more stringent evidentiary standards such as only accepting records verified by physical evidence, at least for rare or elusive species. Our goal was to evaluate the influence of occurrence records with different reliability on species distribution models (SDMs) of a unique mammal, the white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) in the American Southwest. We compared SDMs developed using maximum entropy analysis of combined bioclimatic and biophysical variables and based on seven subsets of occurrence records that varied in reliability and spatial precision. We found that the predicted distribution of the coati based on datasets that included anecdotal occurrence records were similar to those based on datasets that only included physical evidence. Coati distribution in the American Southwest was predicted to occur in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona and was defined primarily by evenness of climate and Madrean woodland and chaparral land-cover types. Coati distribution patterns in this region suggest a good model for understanding the biogeographic structure of range margins. We concluded that occurrence datasets that include anecdotal records can be used to infer species distributions, providing such data are used only for easily-identifiable species and based on robust modeling methods such as maximum entropy. Use of a reliability rating system is critical for using anecdotal data.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Map of land-cover types associated with the white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) in Arizona and New Mexico (see Table 5 for habitat suitability values for each land-cover). Dots represents observations of observations of coatis that included juveniles, pregnant females, or groups of three or more individuals, suggesting reproduction. Labels are physiographic regions.
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animals-03-00327-f004: Map of land-cover types associated with the white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) in Arizona and New Mexico (see Table 5 for habitat suitability values for each land-cover). Dots represents observations of observations of coatis that included juveniles, pregnant females, or groups of three or more individuals, suggesting reproduction. Labels are physiographic regions.

Mentions: Land-cover was the most important biophysical variable in determining coati distribution in the American Southwest. The land-cover types with the highest suitability for coatis form a natural transition at mid-elevations (i.e., from highest to lowest elevation: Madrean pinyon-juniper woodland, Madrean encinal, Mogollon chaparral) between Madrean pine-oak forest at higher elevations and desert or arid grasslands at lower elevations (Figure 4). Indeed, the mean elevation of all verified (class A) and highly probable (class B) occurrence records was 1,611 m (range = 704–2,807; SD = 314.7; 95% confidence interval = 1,570–1,653; N = 219), which is similar to prior reports from Arizona [19,21]. Madrean woodland and chaparral communities are found in areas with mild winters, which directly reflects the bioclimatic determinants (i.e., evenness of temperature) of coati distribution [46]. Such areas are dominated by a diversity of evergreen shrub and tree species, such as mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus spp.), manzanita (Arctostaphylos), oaks (Quercus), pinyon pines (Pinus), and junipers (Juniperus), and primarily having centers of distribution in the Sierra Madre, Mexico. Thus, the coati would appropriately be considered a Madrean species that reaches its northern limit in the American Southwest. However, it should be noted that coatis are not limited to Madrean woodland and chaparral habitats; other land-cover types with high suitability included various types of desert scrub, semi-desert grassland, woodland, and pine forest (Table 5). These habitat relationships have been noted by previous researchers [21].


Use of Anecdotal Occurrence Data in Species Distribution Models: An Example Based on the White-Nosed Coati (Nasua narica) in the American Southwest.

Frey JK, Lewis JC, Guy RK, Stuart JN - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Map of land-cover types associated with the white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) in Arizona and New Mexico (see Table 5 for habitat suitability values for each land-cover). Dots represents observations of observations of coatis that included juveniles, pregnant females, or groups of three or more individuals, suggesting reproduction. Labels are physiographic regions.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494388&req=5

animals-03-00327-f004: Map of land-cover types associated with the white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) in Arizona and New Mexico (see Table 5 for habitat suitability values for each land-cover). Dots represents observations of observations of coatis that included juveniles, pregnant females, or groups of three or more individuals, suggesting reproduction. Labels are physiographic regions.
Mentions: Land-cover was the most important biophysical variable in determining coati distribution in the American Southwest. The land-cover types with the highest suitability for coatis form a natural transition at mid-elevations (i.e., from highest to lowest elevation: Madrean pinyon-juniper woodland, Madrean encinal, Mogollon chaparral) between Madrean pine-oak forest at higher elevations and desert or arid grasslands at lower elevations (Figure 4). Indeed, the mean elevation of all verified (class A) and highly probable (class B) occurrence records was 1,611 m (range = 704–2,807; SD = 314.7; 95% confidence interval = 1,570–1,653; N = 219), which is similar to prior reports from Arizona [19,21]. Madrean woodland and chaparral communities are found in areas with mild winters, which directly reflects the bioclimatic determinants (i.e., evenness of temperature) of coati distribution [46]. Such areas are dominated by a diversity of evergreen shrub and tree species, such as mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus spp.), manzanita (Arctostaphylos), oaks (Quercus), pinyon pines (Pinus), and junipers (Juniperus), and primarily having centers of distribution in the Sierra Madre, Mexico. Thus, the coati would appropriately be considered a Madrean species that reaches its northern limit in the American Southwest. However, it should be noted that coatis are not limited to Madrean woodland and chaparral habitats; other land-cover types with high suitability included various types of desert scrub, semi-desert grassland, woodland, and pine forest (Table 5). These habitat relationships have been noted by previous researchers [21].

Bottom Line: We found that the predicted distribution of the coati based on datasets that included anecdotal occurrence records were similar to those based on datasets that only included physical evidence.We concluded that occurrence datasets that include anecdotal records can be used to infer species distributions, providing such data are used only for easily-identifiable species and based on robust modeling methods such as maximum entropy.Use of a reliability rating system is critical for using anecdotal data.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA. jfrey@nmsu.edu.

ABSTRACT
Species distributions are usually inferred from occurrence records. However, these records are prone to errors in spatial precision and reliability. Although influence of spatial errors has been fairly well studied, there is little information on impacts of poor reliability. Reliability of an occurrence record can be influenced by characteristics of the species, conditions during the observation, and observer's knowledge. Some studies have advocated use of anecdotal data, while others have advocated more stringent evidentiary standards such as only accepting records verified by physical evidence, at least for rare or elusive species. Our goal was to evaluate the influence of occurrence records with different reliability on species distribution models (SDMs) of a unique mammal, the white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) in the American Southwest. We compared SDMs developed using maximum entropy analysis of combined bioclimatic and biophysical variables and based on seven subsets of occurrence records that varied in reliability and spatial precision. We found that the predicted distribution of the coati based on datasets that included anecdotal occurrence records were similar to those based on datasets that only included physical evidence. Coati distribution in the American Southwest was predicted to occur in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona and was defined primarily by evenness of climate and Madrean woodland and chaparral land-cover types. Coati distribution patterns in this region suggest a good model for understanding the biogeographic structure of range margins. We concluded that occurrence datasets that include anecdotal records can be used to infer species distributions, providing such data are used only for easily-identifiable species and based on robust modeling methods such as maximum entropy. Use of a reliability rating system is critical for using anecdotal data.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus