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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 653:105-119 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13484

Comparative species abundance modeling of Capitellidae (Annelida) in Tampa Bay, Florida, USA

Justin Hilliard1,*, David Karlen2, Thomas Dix2, Sara Markham2, Anja Schulze1

1Texas A&M University Galveston Campus, Galveston, Texas 77553, USA
2Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida 33619, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Capitellid polychaetes are ubiquitous throughout the world’s oceans and are often encountered in high abundance. We used an extensive dataset of species abundance and distribution records of the Capitella capitata complex, C. aciculata, C. jonesi, Heteromastus filiformis, Mediomastus ambiseta, and M. californiensis from Tampa Bay, Florida, USA, as a model system of closely related species filling a similar ecological niche. We sought to (1) characterize the spatial distribution of each species, (2) determine if a single species abundance modeling strategy could be applied to them all, and (3) assess environmental drivers of species distribution and abundance. We found that all species had a zero-inflated abundance distribution and there was spatial autocorrelation by bay regions. Lorenz curves were an effective tool to assess spatial patterns of species abundance across large areas. Bay segment, depth, and dissolved oxygen were the most important environmental drivers. Modeling was accomplished by comparing 6 different approaches: 4 generalized additive models (GAMs: Poisson, negative binomial, Tweedie, and zero-inflated Poisson distributions), hurdle models, and boosted regression trees. There was no single model with top performance for every species. However, GAM-Tweedie and hurdle models performed well overall and may be useful for studies of other benthic marine invertebrates.


KEY WORDS: Polychaete · Ecology · Generalized additive model · Machine learning


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Cite this article as: Hilliard J, Karlen D, Dix T, Markham S, Schulze A (2020) Comparative species abundance modeling of Capitellidae (Annelida) in Tampa Bay, Florida, USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 653:105-119. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13484

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