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Transferability of predictive fish distribution models between two coastal systems

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 17:43 authored by Jacquomo MonkJacquomo Monk, Versace, V, Ierodiaconou, D
Species distribution modelling has emerged as a powerful tool for exploring niche theory as well as producing distribution maps for management in the marine environment. The efficiency of these models is usually tested on the area for which they were developed. However, knowledge about factors influencing the transferability of distribution models, i.e. the accuracy of the models when applying them in a new geographical area, is limited. We tested the transferability of maximum entropy (MAXENT) for five temperate marine demersal fishes, between two study localities in south-eastern Australia. The MAXENT models were based on spatially-explicit multibeam-sonar derived seafloor variables and geo-located towed-video occurrence datasets. Comparisons of evaluations (via area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic plot; AUC, and transferability index) and spatial predictions within and between regions were conducted in order to test if species meet the criteria of full transferability. By full transferability, we mean that: (1) the internal evaluation (i.e. internal AUC) of models fitted in region A and B must be similar; (2) a model fitted in region A must at least retain a comparable external evaluation (external AUC) when projected into region B, and vice-versa; and (3) internal and external spatial predictions have to match within both regions. Only three of the 20 models achieved the transferability requirements (i.e. when internal evaluation AUC > 0.7 and external evaluation AUC < 0.7). In addition, the transferability index and similarity between spatial predications suggested considerable differences for most models. Our results illustrate how transferability success can be influenced by area-specific differences in the range of the predictor variables and show the necessity of validating model predictions properly (i.e. the importance of ground-truthing).


Publication title

AMSA-NZMSS 2012 Program and Abstract book




Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Event title

AMSA-NZMSS 2012 - Marine Extremes - and Everything In Between

Event Venue

Hobart, Tasmania

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Marine biodiversity

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    University Of Tasmania


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