Model Spotlight: Species Distribution Models for three PEI bird Species at Risk

Canada Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher and Eastern Wood-Pewee

• Jocelyn Pender

In 2020, the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre (AC CDC) was contracted by the Government of Prince Edward Island to use LiDAR for the development of Species Distribution Models (SDMs) for three bird Species at Risk: Canada Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher and Eastern Wood-Pewee.

Canopy height, canopy closure, high-contrast edge and topographic position index were calculated from 1m digital elevation model (DEM) and 1m digital surface model (DSM) products recently generated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) from 2008 LiDAR data. Other metrics were included in the model.

Species occurrence data were compiled from the AC CDC database, the Island Nature Trust, eBird and the PEI Nature Tracker and filtered for use in models.

Models were developed and run in MaxEnt and best models were selected using backwards, stepwise parameter selection. Final models had high AUC (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve; a measure of the discriminatory power of the model), predictor response curves were ecologically reasonable (i.e., they agreed with known relationships about habitat use) and high-level reviews of predictive surface outputs (the mapping of potential habitat) by three AC CDC biologists indicated that surfaces generally showed appropriate ecological patterns across the island.

Model details:

Field Description
Project name Species Distribution Models for three PEI bird Species at Risk - Canada Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher and Eastern Wood-Pewee
Project date 2021
Project partners AC CDC, Island Nature Trust, PEI FW
Primary contact james.churchill@accdc.ca
Short project description SDM at PEI extent including lidar-derived habitat structure and other metrics
Project documentation AC CDC
Province PEI
Study site PEI
Geographic extent PEI
Modelling approach Species Distribution Model
Modelling software Maxent
Model grain size 100m
Product description 100m-resolution predictive raster showing continuous probability of suitable conditions
Data sensitivity non-sensitive
Data use restrictions permission required from PEI/AC CDC
Data location inputs AC CDC
Data location outputs AC CDC

Photo by Patrice Bouchard on Unsplash.