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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 420:157-174 (2010)  -  DOI:

Habitat suitability for marine fishes using presence-only modelling and multibeam sonar

Jacquomo Monk1, Daniel Ierodiaconou1,*, Vincent L. Versace1, Alecia Bellgrove1, Euan Harvey2, Alex Rattray1, Laurie Laurenson1, Gerry P. Quinn1

1School Life & Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Deakin University, PO Box 423, Warrnambool, Victoria 3280, Australia
2School of Plant Biology (Oceans Institute M470), University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
*‑Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Improved access to multibeam sonar and underwater video technology is enabling scientists to use spatially-explicit, predictive modelling to improve our understanding of marine ecosystems. With the growing number of modelling approaches available, knowledge of the relative performance of different models in the marine environment is required. Habitat suitability of 5 demersal fish taxa in Discovery Bay, south-east Australia, were modelled using 10 presence-only algorithms: BIOCLIM, DOMAIN, ENFA (distance geometric mean [GM], distance harmonic mean [HM], median [M], area-adjusted median [Ma], median + extremum [Me], area-adjusted median + extremum [Mae] and minimum distance [Min]), and MAXENT. Model performance was assessed using kappa and area under curve (AUC) of the receiver operator characteristic. The influence of spatial range (area of occupancy) and environmental niches (marginality and tolerance) on modelling performance were also tested. MAXENT generally performed best, followed by ENFA-GM and -HM, DOMAIN, BIOCLIM, ENFA-M, -Min, -Ma, -Mae and -Me algorithms. Fish with clearly definable niches (i.e. high marginality) were most accurately modelled. Generally, Euclidean distance to nearest reef, HSI-b (backscatter), rugosity and maximum curvature were the most important variables in determining suitable habitat for the 5 demersal fish taxa investigated. This comparative study encourages ongoing use of presence-only approaches, particularly MAXENT, in modelling suitable habitat for demersal marine fishes.

KEY WORDS: Species distribution modelling · Multibeam sonar · Towed-video · MAXENT · ENFA · BIOCLIM · DOMAIN

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Cite this article as: Monk J, Ierodiaconou D, Versace VL, Bellgrove A and others (2010) Habitat suitability for marine fishes using presence-only modelling and multibeam sonar. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 420:157-174.

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