Species Distribution Modeling

Species distribution modeling, also known as ecological or environmental niche modeling, constructs a spatial model of distribution given a set of sample occurrences and their respective environmental values. A flourishing area of research made possible by both the rise in available environmental and biodiversity data as well as easy-to-implement software languages and applications.

We focus here on species distribution models that use primarily presence-only data to predict species distributions used in phylogeographic and conservation biology.

Methods Matrix {coming}

In December 2008, NSF and MVZ hosted an AmphibiaTree Workshop on Species Distribution Modeling. The AmphibiaTree Workshop Manual, is posted here for your convenience. PDF (3 mb)– includes abstracts of presentations, reading list, all lab handouts, tutorials, and resource links.

Tutorial assumes you have: Diva-GIS*; Maxent*; ArcGIS 9.x with Spatial Analyst; an internet connection (*links will open new windows to download free applications)


A collection of relevant papers has been started on the Docubase Project website: Search for the collection, BioGeoInformatics. To simply view all the references, select the collection from the dropdown list and hit the Search button at the top. Some references are available to download as pdfs. Coming soon: a Zotero collection (hopefully).

More Links

In cooperation with Geospatial Innovation Facility (GIF) Lab, we offer hands-on workshops on distribution modeling, so check out the current schedule!

The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (AMNH) offers a guide species’ distribution modeling for conservation educators and practitioners (Pearson 2006).


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