MEPS - Vol. 564 - FEATURE ARTICLE

Conceptual illustration of a marine species distribution rendered in 3 dimensions across the North-East Atlantic Ocean. Bathymetry data from GEBCO. Image: GA Duffy

Duffy GA, Chown SL

 

Explicitly integrating a third dimension in marine species distribution modelling

Marine species distribution models often treat oceans as 2 dimensional environments, despite water conditions, such as temperature and salinity, changing with depth and influencing species’ distribution. Duffy & Chown demonstrate that ignoring the effects of depth can result in misrepresentative estimates of species’ ranges and environmental tolerances, and discuss methods that have been proposed to model marine species distributions in 3D. They show that minor modification of existing methods (resulting in 2.5D models) is a viable alternative to fully 3D models. Until 3D models for marine species distribution modelling have been developed, 2.5D models should be adopted.

 

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