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Species distribution modelling to support marine conservation planning: The next steps

October 21, 2013

Species distribution models (SDMs) offer great potential for inclusion into the toolbox of today’s marine environmental manager, especially with regard to marine conservation and planning. The application of SDMs in the marine environment over recent years has been varied but there are still relatively few examples in comparison with terrestrial application, and this is especially true in deep-sea marine ecosystems. This short article builds upon two recent review articles concerning the application of species distribution modelling studies in the marine realm, offering additional practical considerations for discussion. Recommendations for progressing the improved application of SDMs to support marine conservation planning are given, including combining model outputs with other data layers, metadata standards and model error. SDMs have both an urgent and long term contribution to make to marine conservation planning globally, and it is hoped that this article, in combination with developing research on marine SDMs, will contribute to some much needed discussion and inform best practice and new research to enable these models to be of greater use to marine managers.

Marshall C E, Glegg G A, Howell K L, in press. Species distribution modelling to support marine conservation planning: The next steps, Marine Policy, 2013, doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2013.09.003. Article.

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