Tue, 31 May


Zoom webinar

Reconstructing species’ biogeographic histories using data integration

Keynote by Adam Smith, associate scientist in Global Change and Conservation at the Missouri Botanical Garden (www.earthSkySea.org)

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Reconstructing species’ biogeographic histories using data integration

Time & Location

31 May, 15:00 – 16:00

Zoom webinar

About the Event


Reconstructing species’ biogeographic histories is essential to understanding the current and potential future distribution of life on Earth. To date, most reconstructions of species’ responses to past environmental change have relied on one of three types of data paired with different analyses: modern occurrence data with species distribution models, fossil pollen data with spatial smoothing algorithms or pollen-vegetation models, and genetic data analyzed with scenario-based modeling. Although recent attempts have been made to integrate these types of analysis, a formal comparison of their relative strengths and weaknesses--and promise for integration--is lacking. In this talk, I address the challenge of reconstructing species’ biogeographic histories (locations of past glacial refugia, timing and rates of movement, abundances) using each of these individual methods. I then describe a team effort toward a novel method for combining individual data types and analyses using a formal, statistical framework based on Approximate Bayesian Computation. Within this framework, demographic and genetic dynamics are simulated while being constrained by suitability surfaces provided by either a species distribution model or pollen density model. The potential for integrated analysis is illustrated using green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), a widespread tree of eastern North America. Using this system, we can compare estimates of the rate of range shift since the last glaciation 21,000 yr ago. Data integration reduces uncertainty in estimates of movement while retaining expected responses to episodes of past rapid climate change. Data integration holds great potential for understanding the past--and potential future--of life on Earth.

Co-Authors: Antonio R. Castilla, Alissa Brown, Sean Hoban, John D. Robinson, Allan E. Strand, John R. Tipton, and Andria Dawson

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