Re-using diatom observation data: species distribution modeling of pelagic marine diatoms.

Stefan.Pinkernell [ at ]


Marine pelagic diatoms are coined to be strong drivers of the Southern Oceans silicate pump. Their growth and sinking dynamics substantially affect silicate supply in lower latitude surface water masses of the world ocean. We have explored the use of species distribution models (SDM) to investigate the potential responses of a few key diatom species to their environment in the context of climate change. SDMs are based on the combination of occurrence and environmental data by statistical or machine learning approaches. Subsequently, the species’ potential distribution is mapped by projecting the model on gridded environmental layers, also for future scenarios. This methodology became a standard approach in biogeography as well as conservation and climate change science, though with a strong bias towards terrestrial organisms. Marine organisms are clearly underrepresented and there is little experience with the applicability of SDMs for planktonic organisms. Taxon occurrence records were harvested from public resources like the GBIF network and literature, complemented by records from the Hustedt Collection, a large diatom herbarium located at the AWI. A main drawback of public resources is the intransparence of taxonomic identification. Accompanying voucher images, and, in the case of the Hustedt collection, public physical voucher specimens will be important to remedy this situation. Environmental parameters included nutrient concentrations and oceanographic variables like sea surface temperature and salinity. Results of this study will be presented focusing on the current availability of taxon observation records and environmental parameters, model evaluation and projection on expected environmental conditions predicted for future climate scenarios. In summary, the resulting current potential distribution maps of the models agree well with species distributions expected based on background knowledge, although the nature of a distribution boundary in the pelagial poses some challenges for interpretation.

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Conference (Talk)
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9th Central European Diatom Meeting, 10 Mar 2015 - 13 Mar 2015, Bremerhaven.
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Pinkernell, S. and Beszteri, B. (2015): Re-using diatom observation data: species distribution modeling of pelagic marine diatoms. , 9th Central European Diatom Meeting, Bremerhaven, 10 March 2015 - 13 March 2015 .


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