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A procedure to assess the spatial variability in the importance of abiotic factors affecting distributions: THE case of world freshwater fishes

AuthorsManjarrés-Hernández, Ana; Guisande, Cástor; García-Roselló, Emilio; Pelayo-Villamil, Patricia; González-Dacosta, Jacinto; Heine, Juergen; González-Vilas, Luis; Granado-Lorencio, C.; Duque, Santiago R.; Lobo, Jorge M.
KeywordsNon-stationary predictors
Anisotropic predictors
Environmental data selection
Geographical background
Issue DateOct-2018
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationCurrent Zoology 64(5): 549-557 (2018)
AbstractUnderstanding the factors shaping species’ distributions is a key longstanding topic in ecology with unresolved issues. The aims were to test whether the relative contribution of abiotic factors that set the geographical range of freshwater fish species may vary spatially and/or may depend on the geographical extent that is being considered. The relative contribution of factors, to discriminate between the conditions prevailing in the area where the species is present and those existing in the considered extent, was estimated with the instability index included in the R package SPEDInstabR. We used 3 different extent sizes: 1) each river basin where the species is present (local); 2) all river basins where the species is present (regional); and 3) the whole Earth (global). We used a data set of 16,543 freshwater fish species with a total of 845,764 geographical records, together with bioclimatic and topographic variables. Factors associated with temperature and altitude show the highest relative contribution to explain the distribution of freshwater fishes at the smaller considered extent. Altitude and a mix of factors associated with temperature and precipitation were more important when using the regional extent. Factors associated with precipitation show the highest contribution when using the global extent. There was also spatial variability in the importance of factors, both between species and within species and from region to region. Factors associated with precipitation show a clear latitudinal trend of decreasing in importance toward the equator.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1093/cz/zox063
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