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Importance and effectiveness of correction methods for spatial sampling bias in species with sex‐specific habitat preference

Abstract : Aim Presence records from surveys with spatially heterogeneous sampling intensity are a key challenge for species distribution models (SDMs). When sex groups differ in their habitat association, the correction of the spatial bias becomes important for preventing model predictions that are biased toward one sex. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effectiveness of existing correction methods for spatial sampling bias for SDMs when male and female have different habitat preferences. Location: Jura massif, France. Methods We used a spatially sex‐segregated virtual species to understand the effect of three sampling designs (spatially biased, uniform random, and systematic), and two correction methods (targeted background points, and distance to trajectories) on estimated habitat preferences, sex ratios, and prediction accuracy. We then evaluated these effects for two empirical Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) presence‐only datasets from a systematic and a spatially biased sampling design. Results Sampling design strongly affected parameter estimation accuracy for the virtual species: noncorrected spatially biased sampling resulted in biased estimates of habitat association and sex ratios. Both established methods of bias correction were successful in the case of virtual species, with the targeted correction methods showing stronger correction, as it more closely followed the simulated decay of detectability with distance from sampling locations. On the Capercaillie dataset, only the targeted background points method resulted in the same sex ratio estimate for the spatially biased sampling design as for the spatially unbiased sampling. Main conclusions We suggest that information on subgroups with distinct habitat associations should be included in SDMs analyses when possible. We conclude that current methods for correcting spatially biased sampling can improve estimates of both habitat association and subgroup ratios (e.g., sex and age), but that their efficiency depends on their ability to well represent the spatial observation bias.
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Submitted on : Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 6:55:07 PM
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A. Glad, J.M. Monnet, J. Pagel, Björn Reineking. Importance and effectiveness of correction methods for spatial sampling bias in species with sex‐specific habitat preference. Ecology and Evolution, 2019, 9 (23), pp.13188-13201. ⟨10.1002/ece3.5765⟩. ⟨hal-02609991⟩

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