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Ecological Niche Modeling

Ecological niche models (ENM) predict the fundamental niche of species based on occurrence points and environmental data. With the development of remote sensing, researchers have access to numerous publicly available environmental databases. Furthermore, public occurrence data is available through numerous databases such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and FishBase. However, these databases should be used with caution. Occurrence data could lack high spatial resolution, proper identification, or improper taxonomic nomenclature for species whom underwent recent revisions. Coastal habitats present their own difficulties for niche modeling as they are influenced by both terrestrial and marine environmental conditions. My research leverages over a decade of sample throughout the mangrove swamps of Florida to evaluate the niche of Kryptolebias marmoratus, rivulus, while incorporating the influence of adjacent environmental variables. After model development, I estimate how different representative concentration pathways (RCPs), climate change scenarios, may impact the fundamental niche of rivulus.

The map on the left depicts the estimated geographic rand of Kryptolebias species after the recent taxonomic revision. The star indicates where Kryptolebias marmoratus and Kryptolebias hermaphroditus have been found to hybridize. However, extensive sampling has yet to be completed for Kryptolebias marmoratus in Cuba, the Caribbean, and Central/South America.

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