Skip to main content

Data from: Evaluating temporal and spatial transferability of a tidal inundation model for foraging waterbirds

Cite this dataset

Martinez, Marisa; Calle, Leonardo; Romanach, Stephanie; Gawlik, Dale (2022). Data from: Evaluating temporal and spatial transferability of a tidal inundation model for foraging waterbirds [Dataset]. Dryad.


For ecosystem models to be applicable outside their context of development, temporal and spatial transferability must be demonstrated. This presents a challenge for modeling intertidal ecosystems where spatiotemporal variation arises at multiple scales. Models specializing in tidal dynamics are generally inhibited from having wider ecological applications by coarse spatiotemporal resolution or high user competency. The Tidal Inundation Model of Shallow-water Availability (TiMSA) uniquely simulates tides to empirically derive a time-integrated measure of availability for a shallow water depth range defined by the user. To evaluate temporal and spatiotemporal transferability, we employed TiMSA at the development site in the Florida Keys and at novel sub-sites in the Florida Bay (application site) under a different time period (application period). We used foraging Little Blue Herons (Egretta caerulea) as the ecological unit with which to constrain the model’s ‘water depth window’, i.e., range of water depths to estimate shallow-water availability. At the development site, temporally consistent water depth windows contrasted with interannual variation in shallow-water availability which revealed short-term changes in Little Blue Heron foraging habitat. At the application site, water depth accuracy varied by sub-site and was correlated with spatial error in bathymetric elevation. Although TiMSA parameters were sensitive to environmental temporal variation and uncertainty in spatial data, a spatially-explicit water depth window generated reliable estimates of shallow-water conditions over space and time at the development and application sites. By exploring the contributing factors to model error, we provide solutions to reduce uncertainty of TiMSA parameters at potential application sites and recommendations for addressing bathymetric inaccuracy in digital elevation models. Accurately quantifying spatiotemporal changes of shallow-water has implications for monitoring habitat conditions for tidally-influenced species and projecting future changes to coastal ecosystems in response to anthropogenic stressors and natural disturbances such as sea level rise.

Usage notes

The dataset contains three compressed folders. DataS1.7Z contains files to perform a temporal transfer of the Tidal Inundation Model of Shallow-water Availability (TiMSA) at the development site, Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, USA. DataS2.7Z contains files to perform a spatiotemporal transfer of TiMSA at the application site, Florida Bay, Florida, USA. DataS3.7Z contains the file to evaluate the accuracy of TiMSA at the Florida Bay application site. The data files are in .ASC and .CSV formats. Please refer to the README file specified for each folder which describe the contents of the data files in detail.


United States Geological Survey, Award: G15AC00303

Everglades Foundation

The Waterbird Society

American Ornithological Society

Friends of Gumbo Limbo