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Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Chair of Plant Ecology - Prof. Dr. Steven Higgins

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The ecology of species distributions

Species distribution modelling (SDM) seeks to use distribution data to understand the controls on species distribution and to forecast potential future distributions of species. In our research we have been trying to add more biological detail into such models (see this overview Higgins et al. 2012, Journal of Biogeography). In particular we have adapted the Thornley Transport Resistance model (a model that simulates growth and allocation in plants) for species distribution modelling (see Higgins et a. 2012, Journal of Biogeography). This model not only describes species distributions well, but has proven to be surprisingly useful. For example, we were able to use the model to understand why some species become invasive, whereas others fail to invade (see Higgins and Richardson 2014, PNAS). More recently we have shown that the model also transfers better to new data domains than a widely used correlative species distribution model does (see Higgins et al. 2021, Ecology and Evolution)

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