Ecological Niche Modeling Workshop

The Ecological Modeling vLab of the LifewatchGreece project comprises of two online models. One of these models is the Ecological Niche Modeling which aims to predict the invasion risks of Indo-Pacific fish species in the Mediterranean Sea. Currently, there is no biological risk assessment done to estimate potential impacts on Mediterranean coastal ecosystems. A pilot project, done in association with partners of EU BON European project and led by HCMR in collaboration with FORTH, FIN, and the University of Gothenburg, UGOTH), will follow up on the work of Leidenberger et al. (2015) on applying ecological niche modeling in invasive species risk assessment, by using a sound number of candidate species and incorporating socioeconomic data. Scenarios for 2050 will also be added to account for future trends in biogeographic distribution, predicting impact, such as invasion hotspots (eastern Mediterranean), or ecological consequences.

The Ecological Niche Modeling workshop was held on 1-3 December 2015 at the HCMR, Crete premises in order to finalize, test the methodology, and start the analyses. The operational costs of the workshop were covered by LifeWatchGreece. There were 6 participants from HCMR, one from FORTH, one form UGOTH (teleconference); FIN was also represented by one of the HCMR members.

A plan for the analysis has been set up as follows:

1. Get complete species list from the donor region from Fishbase
2. Get global occurrences for the species list from OBIS
3. Separate into 4 ecological groups and select the 50 most abundant species for each group
4. Prepare the occurrence records as CSV files, separate files for each species, including
5. Start with the bioclimatic envelopes