Goudarzi F, Hemami M-R, Malekian M, Fakheran S, Martínez‑Freiría F




Species Distribution Models (SDMs) can be used to estimate potential geographic ranges and derive indices to assess species conservation status. However, habitat‑specialist species require fine‑scale range estimates that reflect resource dependency. Furthermore, local adaptation of intraspecific lineages to distinct environmental conditions across ranges have frequently been neglected in SDMs. Here, we propose a multi‑stage SDM approach to estimate the distributional range and potential area of occupancy (pAOO) of Neurergus kaiseri, a spring‑dwelling amphibian with two climatically‑divergent evolutionary lineages. We integrate both broad‑scale climatic variables and fine‑resolution environmental data to predict the species distribution while examining the performance of lineage‑level versus species‑level modelling on the estimated pAOO. Predictions of habitat suitability at the landscape scale differed considerably between evolutionary level models. At the landscape scale, spatial predictions derived from lineage‑level models showed low overlap and recognised a larger amount of suitable habitats than species‑level model. The variable dependency of lineages was different at the landscape scale, but similar at the local scale. Our results highlight the importance of considering fine‑scale resolution approaches, as well as intraspecific genetic structure of taxa to estimate pAOO. The flexible procedure presented here can be used as a guideline for estimating pAOO of other similar species.


Journal: Scientific Reports

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-79783-0