6 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2017
  2. Nov 2016
    1. My thoughts on Climatic Associations of British Species Distributions Show Good Transferability in Time but Low Predictive Accuracy for Range Change by Rapacciuolo et al. (2012).

    2. Whilst the consensus method we used provided the best predictions under AUC assessment – seemingly confirming its potential for reducing model-based uncertainty in SDM predictions [58], [59] – its accuracy to predict changes in occupancy was lower than most single models. As a result, we advocate great care when selecting the ensemble of models from which to derive consensus predictions; as previously discussed by Araújo et al. [21], models should be chosen based on aspects of their individual performance pertinent to the research question being addressed, and not on the assumption that more models are better.

      It's interesting that the ensembles perform best overall but more poorly for predicting changes in occupancy. It seems possible that ensembling multiple methods is basically resulting in a more static prediction, i.e., something closer to a naive baseline.

    3. an average 87% of grid squares maintaining the same occupancy status; similarly, all climatic variables were also highly correlated between time periods (ρ>0.85, p<0.001 for all variables). As a result, models providing a good fit to early distribution records can be expected to return a reasonable fit to more recent records (and vice versa), regardless of whether relevant predictors of range shift have actually been captured. Previous studies have warned against taking strong model performance on calibration data to indicate high predictive accuracy to a different time period [20], [24]–[26]; our results indicate that strong model performance in a different time period, as measured by widespread metrics, may not indicate high predictive accuracy either.

      This highlights the importance of comparing forecasts to baseline predictions to determine the skill of the forecast vs. the basic stability of the pattern.

    4. The correct classification rate of grid squares that remained occupied or remained unoccupied (CCRstable) was fairly high (mean±s.d.  = 0.75±0.15), and did not covary with species’ observed proportional change in range size (Figure 3B). In contrast, the CCR of grid squares whose occupancy status changed between time periods (CCRchanged) was very low overall (0.51±0.14; guessing randomly would be expected to produce a mean of 0.5), with range expansions being slightly better predicted than range contractions (0.55±0.15 and 0.48±0.12, respectively; Figure 3C).

      This is a really important result and my favorite figure in this ms. For cells that changed occupancy status (e.g., a cell that has occupied at t_1 and was unoccupied at t_2) most models had about a 50% chance of getting the change right (i.e., a coin flip).

    5. Quantifying the temporal transferability of SDMs by comparing the agreement between model predictions and observations for the predicted period using common metrics is not a sufficient test of whether models have actually captured relevant predictors of change. A single range-wide measure of prediction accuracy conflates accurately predicting species expansions and contractions to new areas with accurately predicting large parts of the distribution that have remained unchanged in time. Thus, to assess how well SDMs capture drivers of change in species distributions, we measured the agreement between observations and model predictions of each species’ (a) geographic range size in period t2, (b) overall change in geographic range size between time periods, and (c) grid square-level changes in occupancy status between time periods.

      This is arguably the single most important point in this paper. It is equivalent to comparing forecasts to simple baseline forecasts as is typically done in weather forecasting. In weather forecasting it is typical to talk about the "skill" of the forecast, which is how much better it does than a simple baseline. In this case the the baseline is a species range that doesn't move at all. This would be equivalent to a "naive" forecast in traditional time-series analysis since we only have a single previous point in time and the baseline is simply the prediction based on this value not changing.