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University of Cape Town (2017)

Species distribution modelling of Aloidendron dichotomum (quiver tree)

Dube, Qobo

Titre : Species distribution modelling of Aloidendron dichotomum (quiver tree)

Auteur : Dube, Qobo

Université de soutenance : University of Cape Town.

Grade : MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ADVANCED ANALYTICS AND DECISION SCIENCE 2017

Résumé partiel
A variety of species distribution models (SDMs) were fit to data collected by a 15,000km road-side visual survey of Aloidendron dichotomum populations in the Northern Cape region of South Africa, and Namibia. We fit traditional presence/absence SDMs as well as SDMs on how proportions are distributed across three species stage classes (juvenile, adult, dead). Using five candidate machine learning methods and an ensemble model, we compared a number of approaches, including the role of balanced class (presence/absence) datasets in species distribution modelling. Secondary to this was whether or not the addition of species’ absences, generated where the species is known not to exist have an impact on findings. The goal of the analysis was to map the distribution of Aloidendron dichotomum under different scenarios. Precipitation-based variables were generally more deterministic of species presence or lack thereof. Visual interpretation of the estimated Aloidendron dichotomum population under current climate conditions, suggested a reasonably well fit model, having a large overlap with the sampled area. There however were some conditions estimated to be suitable for species incidence outside of the sampled range, where Aloidendron dichotomum are not known to occur. Habitat suitability for juvenile individuals was largely decreasing in concentration towards Windhoek. The largest proportion of dead individuals was estimated to be on the northern edge of the Riemvasmaak Conservancy, along the South African/Namibian boarder, reaching up to a 60% composition of the population.

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