A comparison of two GIS-based habitat characterization methods for juvenile gag (Mycteroperca microlepis): habitat suitability model vs ecological niche factor analysis

Authors: Matthew Spetka*, University of South Florida
Topics: Animal Geographies, Coastal and Marine
Keywords: ecological niche factor analysis, habitat suitability model
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This project seeks to conduct an in-depth comparison of two methods of spatio-temporal habitat characterization of juvenile gag grouper (Mycteroperca microlepis), using long-term fisheries-independent data in estuaries of western Florida. The first method, a habitat suitability model, has been widely used and relies on a comparison between absence and presence data of individuals to select for ideal habitat. The second method is an ecological niche factor analysis. This model is based on the idea that species have an ecological optimum and the further away from that optimum the less ideal the habitat. This type of model does not function using absence data due to the idea that it can often be misleading. Both models use environmental parameters to select for the ideal habitat. This study will use the following parameters: water quality, bottom type, submerged aquatic vegetation type/coverage. Although the habitat suitability model is a widely used and recognized method, its dependence on absence data can potentially make it unreliable. Thus, this project seeks to investigate if the ecological niche factor analysis is a more reliable method and what the limitations are to each. The results from this comparison of two habitat associated modeling techniques will be presented.

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