Joint Species Distribution Modelling of farmland invertebrate communities

Dirk Steinke (IB)

Species distribution modelling has become one of the most widely used tools in ecology, conversation biology and wildlife management. While the field is well established, it is mostly focusing on the occurrence or abundance of single species in response to environmental and spatial variables. Joint Species Distribution Modelling is a very new and fast-developing field which promises to revolutionise how data on entire ecological communities are analysed and interpreted.

This project will utilize insect community data derived from DNA metabarcoding surveys on regional farmland and adjacent conservation areas. It uses the Hierarchical Modelling of Species Communities framework by Ovaskainen and Soininen (2011).

Prospective students would work with the Hmsc R Package to:

  • integrate data on species occurrence, agricultural practices, environmental covariates, species traits and the spatio-temporal context in which the data were acquired using established R modules
  • develop R pipelines to automize the process from DNA sequence input to model output