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Water 2015, 7(8), 4088-4107; doi:10.3390/w7084088

Uncertainty in Various Habitat Suitability Models and Its Impact on Habitat Suitability Estimates for Fish

1
Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
2
Hydraulic Engineering Office, Public Water Department, Taipei City Government, Taipei City 11008, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miklas Scholz
Received: 6 May 2015 / Revised: 13 July 2015 / Accepted: 17 July 2015 / Published: 27 July 2015
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Abstract

Species distribution models (SDMs) are extensively used to project habitat suitability of species in stream ecological studies. Owing to complex sources of uncertainty, such models may yield projections with varying degrees of uncertainty. To better understand projected spatial distributions and the variability between habitat suitability projections, this study uses five SDMs that are based on the outputs of a two-dimensional hydraulic model to project the suitability of habitats and to evaluate the degree of variability originating from both differing model types and the split-sample procedure. The habitat suitability index (HSI) of each species is based on two stream flow variables, including current velocity (V), water depth (D), as well as the heterogeneity of these flow conditions as quantified by the information entropy of V and D. The six SDM approaches used to project fish abundance, as represented by HSI, included two stochastic models: the generalized linear model (GLM) and the generalized additive model (GAM); as well as three machine learning models: the support vector machine (SVM), random forest (RF) and the artificial neural network (ANN), and an ensemble model (where the latter is the average of the preceding five models). The target species Sicyopterus japonicas was found to prefer habitats with high current velocities. The relationship between mesohabitat diversity and fish abundance was indicated by the trends in information entropy and weighted usable area (WUA) over the study area. This study proposes a method for quantifying habitat suitability, and for assessing the uncertainties in HSI and WUA that are introduced by the various SDMs and samples. This study also demonstrated both the merits of the ensemble modeling approach and the necessity of addressing model uncertainty. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydraulic heterogeneity; habitat suitability index; fish abundance; ensemble modeling; uncertainty; suitability models hydraulic heterogeneity; habitat suitability index; fish abundance; ensemble modeling; uncertainty; suitability models
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lin, Y.-P.; Lin, W.-C.; Wu, W.-Y. Uncertainty in Various Habitat Suitability Models and Its Impact on Habitat Suitability Estimates for Fish. Water 2015, 7, 4088-4107.

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