Testing for a shift in a species boundary
Solow, Andrew R.
Beet, Andrew R.
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KeywordClimate change; Extreme value statistics; Occupancy; Species range; Bootstrap; Endpoint estimation
One predicted impact of climate change is a poleward shift in the boundaries of species ranges. Existing methods for identifying such a boundary shift based on changes in the observed pattern of occupancy within a grid of cells are sensitive to changes in the overall rate of sightings and their latitudinal distribution that are unconnected to a boundary shift. A formal test for a boundary shift is described that allows for such changes. The test is applied to detect northward shifts in the northern boundary of the Essex skipper butterfly and the European goldfinch in Great Britain. A shift is detected in the latter case but not in the former. Results from a simulation study are presented showing that the test performs well.
The files included are computer code for achieving the test described in the associated manuscript. The code is written in MATLAB and requires the optimization toolbox.
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