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Environmental niche model
Species responses to environmental gradients - such as temperature conditions, land-use intensity, disturbance level, pH level - can be described by their relative abundance distribution across different sites or situations in the field. We refer to this distribution as the species' environmental niche.
The abundance-weighted mean environmental value is the species niche optimum, the corresponding weighted standard deviation a measure of its niche breadth.
We used this approach to compare thermal niches in pollinator communities (Kühsel & Blüthgen 2015) and grasshopper responses to land-use intensity (Chisté et al. 2016).
We developed a very simple null model to test whether each species' niche deviates significantly from a random distribution, e.g. whether a species is significantly negatively affected by land-use intensity (see Chisté et al. 2016).
R-code and imaginary data for download here.
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