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Worldclim 2.1 versus Worldclim 1.4: climatic niche and grid resolution affect between-version mismatches in habitat suitability models predictions across Europe

Citation

Cerasoli, Francesco; D'Alessandro, Paola; Biondi, Maurizio (2022), Worldclim 2.1 versus Worldclim 1.4: climatic niche and grid resolution affect between-version mismatches in habitat suitability models predictions across Europe, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8w9ghx3nr

Abstract

The influence of climate on the distribution of taxa has been extensively investigated in the last two decades through Habitat Suitability Models (HSMs). In this context, the Worldclim database represents an invaluable data source as it provides worldwide climate surfaces for both historical and future time horizons. Thousands of HSMs-based papers have been published taking advantage of Worldclim 1.4, the first online version of this repository. In 2017, Worldclim 2.1 was released. Here, we evaluated spatially explicit prediction mismatch at continental scale, focusing on Europe, between HSMs fitted using climate surfaces from the two Worldclim versions (between-version differences). To this aim, we simulated occurrence probability and presence-absence across Europe of four virtual species (VS) with differing climate-occurrence relationships. For each VS, we fitted HSMs upon uncorrelated bioclimatic variables derived from each Worldclim version at three grid resolutions. For each factor combination, HSMs attaining sufficient discrimination performance on spatially independent test data were projected across Europe under current conditions and various future scenarios, and importance scores of the single variables were computed. HSMs failed in accurately retrieving the simulated climate-occurrence relationships for the climate-tolerant VS and the one occurring under a narrow combination of climatic conditions. Under current climate, noticeable between-version prediction mismatch emerged across most of Europe for these two VSs, whose simulated suitability mainly depended upon diurnal or yearly variability in temperature; differently, between-version differences were more clustered toward areas showing extreme values, like mountainous massifs or southern regions, for VSs responding to average temperature and precipitation trends. Under future climate, the chosen emission scenarios and Global Climate Models did not evidently influence between-version prediction discrepancies, while grid resolution synergistically interacted with VSs’ niche characteristics in determining extent of such differences. Our findings could help in re-evaluating previous biodiversity-related works relying on geographical predictions from Worldclim-based HSMs.

Usage Notes

This dataset contains all the information needed to replicate the analyses reported in the article entitled "Worldclim 2.1 versus Worldclim 1.4: climatic niche and grid resolution affect between-version mismatches in Habitat Suitability Models predictions across Europe.", by Francesco Cerasoli, Paola D'Alessandro and Maurizio Biondi.
Specifically, users will find:

1) Presence-absence records generated for each virtual species * sampling replicate combination, and used to fit the Habitat Suitability Models (in csv format).
2) Raster files representing simulated occurrence probability and presence-absence of each virtual species across Europe (in .tif format).
3) The R script written to conduct all the reported analyses (in .R format).

Please see the README file for further details about the three above-listed elements of this dataset.