Niche Modeling of Todus Birds in the Greater Antilles

Authors: Kate Henderson*, Villanova University, Robert Curry, Villanova University, Holly Garrod, Villanova University, Peleg Kremer, Villanova University
Topics: Biogeography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Niche modeling, Caribbean, Biogeography
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Niche modeling is a powerful predictive tool used to determine habitat suitability and potential ranges for specific species, and can be especially useful for filling in knowledge gaps about little-studied species. We used Maxent niche modeling software to predict habitat suitability for the five species of Todus birds in the Greater Antilles based on eBird occurrence data and environmental variables including elevation, land cover, and WorldClim’s 19 bioclimatic variables. Our results suggest that land cover and precipitation are important for determining suitable habitat for Todus multicolor in Cuba, Todus todus in Jamaica, and Todus mexicanus in Puerto Rico. On Hispaniola, where Todus angustirostris and Todus subulatus are sympatric, elevation is the most important variable for determining habitat suitability. The model outputs identified the Cordillera Central, Cordillera Septentrional, and several parts of the Sierra de Baoruco and Massif de la Hotte as potential zones of overlap between the two species on Hispaniola, a finding that supports the current literature available on Todus distribution. Based on our suitability models, we can make detailed predictions about Todus ranges in the Greater Antilles and can identify priority regions for further study of interactions and potential hybridization between Todus angustirostris and Todus subulatus on Hispaniola.

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