MEPS 424:175-190 (2011)  -  doi:10.3354/meps08939

A new model to assess the probability of occurrence of a species, based on presence-only data

G. Beaugrand1,2,*, S. Lenoir1, F. Ibañez3, C. Manté4

1Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Laboratoire d’Océanologie et de Géosciences UMR LOG CNRS 8187, Station Marine, Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille – Lille 1, BP 80, 62930 Wimereux, France
2Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
3Laboratoire d’Oceanographie de Villefranche (LOV) BP 28, 06234 Villefranche-sur-Mer CEDEX, France
4Centre d’Océanologie de Marseille, UMR CNRS 6117 LMGEM, Campus de Luminy, Case 901, 13288 Marseille CEDEX 09, France

ABSTRACT: This study aims to describe a new nonparametric ecological niche model for the analysis of presence-only data, which we use to map the spatial distribution of Atlantic cod and to project the potential impact of climate change on this species. The new model, called the Non-Parametric Probabilistic Ecological Niche (NPPEN) model, is derived from a test recently applied to compare the ecological niche of 2 different species. The analysis is based on a simplification of the Multiple Response Permutation Procedures (MRPP) using the Generalised Mahalanobis distance. For the first time, we propose to test the generalized Mahalanobis distance by a non-parametric procedure, thus avoiding the arbitrary selection of quantile classes to allow the direct estimation of the probability of occurrence of a species. The model NPPEN was applied to model the ecological niche (sensu Hutchinson) of Atlantic cod and therefore its spatial distribution. The modelled niche exhibited high probabilities of occurrence at bathymetry ranging from 0 to 500 m (mode from 100 to 300 m), at annual sea surface temperature of from –1 to 14°C (mode from 4 to 8°C) and at annual sea surface salinity ranging from 0 to 36 (mode from 25 to 34). This made the species a good indicator of the subarctic province. Current climate change is having a strong effect on North Sea cod and may have also reinforced the negative impact of fishing on stocks located offshore of North America. The model shows a pronounced effect of present-day climate change on the spatial distribution of Atlantic cod. Projections for the coming decades suggest that cod may eventually disappear as a commercial species from regions where a sustained decrease or collapse has already been documented. In contrast, the abundance of cod is likely to increase in the Barents Sea.

KEY WORDS: Ecological niche models · Multiple response permutation procedure · Generalised Mahalanobis distance · Atlantic cod

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Cite this article as: Beaugrand G, Lenoir S, Ibañez F, Manté C (2011) A new model to assess the probability of occurrence of a species, based on presence-only data. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 424:175-190

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