Brazilian Journal of Biological Sciences (ISSN 2358-2731)

Home Archive v. 2, n. 4 (2015) Moreno


Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 309-319 - Dec. 31, 2015


Ecological niche models, fossil record and the multi-temporal calibration for Panthera onca (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mammalia: Felidae)

Ana Karolina Mendes Moreno and Matheus Souza Lima-Ribeiro

Ecological niche modeling (ENM) has been used in large scale to identify locations with suitable environmental conditions for survival of a species in the geographical space. However, if training data do not identify the species' fundamental niche (e.g., in the case of species distribution is not currently in equilibrium with climate), ENMs may not reflect all appropriate locations it can survive, limiting or invalidating its general use in ecology. We predict that adding fossil data to the current species occurrence records, the called multi-temporal calibration approach, may improve the ENMs prediction by modeling a more complete suite of environmental conditions from species' fundamental niche, making them more robust and reliable. To test our prediction, we modeled the potential distribution of Panthera onca (Linnaeus, 1758) in New World using occurrence records from three subspecies (P. o. onca, P. o. mesembrina and P. o. augusta) and three time periods (Present, mid-Holocene and Last Glacial Maximum). Five different models were generated, the first with only current occurrence records, three others adding fossil data of P. o. mesembrina, P. o. augusta and P. o. onca, respectively, to the current data, and the last using all fossil and current data sets. Our findings support our prediction and show that fossil data improve the predictive ability of the models, informing complementary environmental conditions of species' fundamental niche and expanding its predicted potential distribution.

Equilibrium species-climate, Fundamental niche, Fossil data, Last glacial maximum, Mid-Holocene.

Full text

Allouche, O.; Tsoar, A.; Kadmon, A. Assessing the accuracy of species distribution models: prevalence, kappa and the true skill statistic (TSS). J. Appl. Ecol., v. 43, p. 1223-1232, 2006.

Araújo, M. B.; Pearson, R. G. Equilibrium of species' distribution with climate. Ecography, v. 28, p. 693-695, 2005.

Barve, N.; Barve, V.; Jiménez-Valverde, A.; Lira-Noriega, A.; Maher, S. P.; Peterson, A. T.; Soberón, J.; Villalobos, F. The crucial role of the accessible area in ecological niche modeling and species distribution modeling. Ecol. Model., v. 222, p. 1810-1819, 2001.

Dormann, C. F. Promising the future? Global change projections of species distributions. Basic Appl. Ecol., v. 8, p. 387-397, 2007.

Elith, J.; Graham, C. H.; Anderson, R. P.; Dudík, M.; Ferrier, S.; Guisan, A.; Hijmans, R. J.; Huettmann, F.; Leathwick, J. R.; Lehmann, A.; Li, J.; Lohmann, L. G.; Loiselle, B. A.; Manion, G.; Moritz, C.; Nakamura, M.; Nakazawa, Y.; Overton, J. M.; Peterson, A. T.; Phillips, S. J.; Richardson, K.; Scachetti-Pereira, R.; Schapire, R. E.; Soberón J.; Williams, S.; Wisz, M. S.; Zimmermann, N. E. Novel methods improve prediction of species' distributions from occurrence data. Ecography, v. 29, p. 129-151, 2006.

Elith, J.; Graham, C. H. Do they? How do they? WHY do they differ? On finding reasons for differing performances of species distribution models. Ecography, v. 32, p. 66-77, 2009.

Guggisberg, C. A. W. Wild cats of the World. New York: Taplinger Publications, 1975.

Hijmans, R. J.; Phillips, S.; Leathwick, J.; Elith, J. dismo: Species distribution Modeling. R package version 1.0-12. 2015. Available from: <>. Accessed in Jun. 20, 2015.

Hutchinson, G. E. Concluding remarks. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol., v. 22, p. 425-427, 1975.

Jiménez-Valverde, A.; Lobo, J. M.; Hortal, J. Not as good as they seem: the importance of concepts in species distribution modelling. Diversity Distrib., v. 14, p. 885-890, 2008.

Karatzoglou, A.; Smola, A.; Hornik, K.; Zeileis, A. Kernlab - An S4 package for kernel methods in R. J. Stat. Softw., v. 11, p. 1-20, 2004.

Lima-Ribeiro, M. S.; Diniz-Filho, J. A. F. Modelos ecológicos e a extinção da megafauna: clima e homem na América do Sul. São Carlos: Cubo, 2013.

Lima-Ribeiro, M. S.; Varela, S.; González-Hernández, J.; Oliveira, G.; Diniz-Filho, J. A. F.; Peterson, A. T.; Terribile, L. C. The EcoClimate Database. Available from: <>. Accessed in Jun. 20, 2015.

Nogués-Bravo, D. Predicting the past distribution of species climatic niches. Global Ecol. Biogeogr., v. 18, p. 521-531, 2009.

Nogués-Bravo, D.; Rodríguez, J.; Hortal, J.; Batra, P.; Araújo, M. B. Climate change, humans, and the extinction of the woolly mammoth. PLoS Biol., v. 6, n. 4, e79, 2008. Available from: <>. Accessed in Jun. 20, 2015.

Nowell, K.; Jackson, P. Wild cats: status survey and conservation action plan. Gland, Switzerland: Cat Specialist Group, Wild Conservation Union/Species Survival Commission, 1996.

Pearson, R. G. Species' distribution modeling for conservation educators and practitioners. Synthesis. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 2007. Available from: <>. Accessed in Jun. 20, 2015.

Peterson, A. T.; Pearson, R. G.; Anderson, R. P.; Martínez-Meyer, E.; Nakamura, M.; Araújo, M. B. Ecological niches and geographic distributions. Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2011.

Soberón, J. Niche and area of distribution modeling: a population ecology perspective. Ecography, v. 33, p. 159-167, 2010.

Terribile, L. C.; Lima-Ribeiro, M. S.; Araújo, M. B.; Bizão, N.; Collevatti, R. G.; Dobrovolski, R.; Franco, A. A.; Guilhaumon, F.; Lima, J. S.; Murakami, D. M.; Nabout, J. C.; Oliveira, G.; Oliveira, L. K.; Rabelo, S. G.; Rangel, T.; Simon, L. M.; Soares, T. N.; Telles, M. P. C.; Diniz-Filho, J. A. F. Areas of climate stability of species ranges in the Brazilian Cerrado: disentangling uncertainties through time. Nat. Conserv., v. 10, p. 152-159, 2012.

Thuiller, W.; Brotons. L.; Araújo, M. B.; Lavorel, S. Effects of restricting environmental range of data to project current and future species distributions. Ecography, v. 27, p. 165-172, 2004.

VanderWal. J.; Shoo, L. P.; Graham, C.; Willians, S. E. Selecting pseudo-absence data for presence-only distribution modeling: how far should you stray from what you know? Ecol. Model., v. 22, p. 589-594, 2009.

Varela, S.; Lobo, J. M.; Hortal, J. Using species distribution models in paleobiogeography: a matter of data, predictors and concepts. Palaeog. Palaeoclima. Palaeoecol., v. 310, p. 451-463, 2011.

Zeller, K. Jaguars in the new millennium data set update: The state of the jaguar in 2006. New York: Wildlife Conservation Society, 2007.