Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab

Species Distribution Modeling Workshops in NZ

In December, following the Society for Marine Mammalogy’s 20th Biennial Conference on Marine Mammals in Otago, New Zealand, we conducted 1-day workshops at the University of Otago and University of Auckland. Thanks to all who attended! A special thanks to the workshop organizers, Judy Rodda and Rochelle Constantine.

At the workshops, we presented introductory lectures on MGET, species distribution modeling, and density modeling using distance sampling methodology. We then stepped through an illustrative example that demonstrated how to build presence/absence and density models for two cetacean species from NOAA line-transect survey records using remotely-sensed bathymetry, sea surface temperature, primary productivity, and sea surface height as predictor variables. You can download PDFs of the lectures and a ZIP file of the entire modeling example that you can run on your own machine.

Workshop Materials:

  • Lecture slides (50 MB) – These include the introductory lectures mentioned above, plus an extensive practical introduction to oceanographic remote sensing data and several slides on the open-access special issue of Endangered Species Research called Beyond Marine Mammal Habitat Modeling, which contains some of the latest thinking on modeling cetacean distributions.
  • Modeling example (499 MB) – Download and unzip this to examine and run the presence/absence and density modeling examples yourself. You must have ArcGIS 10.1 SP1 or a later version of ArcGIS, R 3.1.0 or later, and MGET 0.8a62 or later. To run the models yourself, start ArcCatalog, navigate to the 2013_12_NZ\Exercise folder, open the Toolbox, drill into the Step 1 toolset, and edit the Step 1a model. When the model diagram opens, click the Model drop-down menu, and then Run Entire Model. When the model is complete, close the diagram (it does not matter if you save the changes), and repeat this procedure for all of the following models of the toolbox in succession. Alternatively, if you just want to look at the results without running the models, explore the 2013_12_NZ\Exercise_Completed folder with ArcCatalog and Windows Explorer. As you bring up each model, examine the comments we have made to get a better idea what is happening, and open the tools to examine the parameters. Feel free to contact us with questions.
Auckland workshop participants examine remote sensing data