Hierarchical species distribution models and Maxent

John Drake kindly invited me to guest lecture in his graduate seminar on species distribution models earlier this week. I discussed the often overlooked fact that many popular species distribution models assume that observed locations represent a random sample from the population of interest, and I used a simple simulation exercise to demonstrate how violations of this assumption can yield extremely misleading results. The rest of the talk briefly covered various types of hierarchical models that can be used to relax the random sampling assumption while allowing for inference about spatial variation in density or occurrence probability.

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