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Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Walter Jetz


Species distribution modeling, which uses species-environment relationships to predict species’ geographic ranges, is a powerful technique for biogeographical and ecological analysis as well as for conservation planning. However, it has typically been underutilized for invertebrates and for freshwater species, as modeling these groups can pose unique challenges. Here I present methods for modeling odonate distributions and demonstrate these methods for four North American species. I show that incorporating expert-derived range maps as spatial priors can significantly improve model performance as compared to MaxEnt models. I also introduce a new distance to freshwater layer as an environmental variable, and show that this is an important predictor of presence for all tested species. The methods and example cases presented here contribute to a greater understanding of this ecologically important but understudied taxonomic group.