Department of Geography and the Environment

Virtual Biogeography: Using Simulated Data as a Species Modeling Tool by Dr. Jennifer Miller

How species distributions change

Fri, February 18, 2011 | GRG 102

4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

This colloquium research presentation will be by Dr. Jennifer Miller. Her talk is entitled "Virtual Biogeography: Using simulated data as a species modeling tool"


An understanding of how and why biological organisms are distributed in space is a central tenet of biogeographical research. Species distribution models (SDM) quantify the correlation between environmental factors and the distribution of plant, and accordingly animal, species.

This empirically derived ‘environmental profile’ can be used to describe and measure the importance of specific factors and to predict species’ distribution across unsampled areas, as well as to examine environmental change and its ecological consequences. On an individual level, models of species movement (MSM) can be used to investigate the complex spatio-temporal interactions between an organism and its environment (and other organisms).

Both of these types of models benefit from the use of simulated or ‘virtual’ data, either as a representation of a true distribution to facilitate model comparisons (SDM) or as a ‘null’ or random model against which real parameters can be compared (MSM).

In this talk, Dr. Miller will give an overview of how simulated data have been used in biogeography and focus on two case studies involving SDM and MSM.

Bookmark and Share