Special Issue "Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research"

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Neftali Sillero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Spatial Biology Lab, CICGE - Research Center for Geo-Space Science, University of Porto, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal
Interests: spatial distribution patterns; spatial ecology; biogeography; conservation biology; GIS; remote sensing; ecological niche models; spatial statistics
Dr. Salvador Arenas-Castro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Spatial Biology Lab. CICGE - Research Center for Geo-Space Science, University of Porto, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal
Interests: biogeography; conservation biology; dendroecology; ecology; GIS; image processing; remote sensing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Geographical information systems (GIS) are indispensable tools of spatial analysis. In particular, the study of biodiversity has a strong spatial component. We propose here a Special Volume of ISPRSInternational Journal of Geo-Information on Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research. GIS, together with spatial statistics, are essential for analysing spatial patterns of biodiversity, from genes to individuals, species and communities. GIS are the best tool to collect, store, manage and map distribution data, basal to any type of spatial analyses. Thus, distribution atlases are now completely performed with GIS, namely by web GIS applications. With atlas data, we can determine species chorotypes and biogeographical areas. Ecological niche modelling (ENMs) is probably the most used analytical spatial tool to analyse the factors driving the species ranges. With ENMs, we can model species richness, range shifts and species dispersions, species invasions, hybrid zones, and help to analyse the phylogeography and systematics of species. GIS have made it possible to analyse landscape connectivity, the spatial structure of communities, and species home ranges. However, GIS are also essential in conserving biodiversity: GIS algorithms are able to find the most efficient network of protected areas. GIS can analyse and model factors threatening biodiversity, such as habitat loss by urbanisation and road-kills. We invite all researchers to submit their works applying GIS in Biodiversity research.

Dr. Neftali Sillero
Dr. Salvador Arenas-Castro
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • GIS
  • spatial statistics
  • ecological niche models
  • remote sensing
  • biogeography
  • phylogeography
  • spatial ecology
  • conservation
  • protected areas
  • species distributions

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
A Spatial Approach for Modeling Amphibian Road-Kills: Comparison of Regression Techniques
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(5), 343; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijgi10050343 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 969
Abstract
Road networks are the main source of mortality for many species. Amphibians, which are in global decline, are the most road-killed fauna group, due to their activity patterns and preferred habitats. Many different methodologies have been applied in modeling the relationship between environment [...] Read more.
Road networks are the main source of mortality for many species. Amphibians, which are in global decline, are the most road-killed fauna group, due to their activity patterns and preferred habitats. Many different methodologies have been applied in modeling the relationship between environment and road-kills events, such as logistic regression. Here, we compared the performance of five regression techniques to relate amphibians’ road-kill frequency to environmental variables. For this, we surveyed three country roads in northern Portugal in search of road-killed amphibians. To explain the presence of road-kills, we selected a set of environmental variables important for the presence of amphibians and the occurrence of road-kills. We compared the performances of five modeling techniques: (i) generalized linear models, (ii) generalized additive models, (iii) random forest, (iv) boosted regression trees, and (v) geographically weighted regression. The boosted regression trees and geographically weighted regression techniques performed the best, with a percentage of deviance explained between 61.8% and 76.6% and between 55.3% and 66.7%, respectively. Moreover, the geographically weighted regression showed a great advantage over the other techniques, as it allows mapping local parameter coefficients as well as local model performance (pseudo-R2). The results suggest that geographically weighted regression is a useful tool for road-kill modeling, as well as to better visualize and map the spatial variability of the models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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Article
Analysis of Differences in the Spatial Distribution among Terrestrial Mammals Using Geodetector—A Case Study of China
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(1), 21; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijgi10010021 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 775
Abstract
The survival and distribution of animals cannot be separated from a certain environment. How patterns in mammalian species depend on the environment remain unclear. This study incorporating spatial data on climate, precipitation, topography, and vegetation quantitatively analyzed the influence of specific geographical factors [...] Read more.
The survival and distribution of animals cannot be separated from a certain environment. How patterns in mammalian species depend on the environment remain unclear. This study incorporating spatial data on climate, precipitation, topography, and vegetation quantitatively analyzed the influence of specific geographical factors on the spatial distribution of terrestrial mammalian richness using the Geodetector model. We used the spatial analysis method of geographical information systems (GIS), separating the mammalian distribution of 621 species into 10 by 10 km grids to measure spatial richness. Our results showed that there were significant spatial differences in terrestrial mammalian richness in China. There was a low richness in the east and west, but high richness in the south. Individual factor detection results showed that annual precipitation (AP) and the minimum temperature of the coldest month (MTCM) were the dominant factors affecting the spatial pattern of mammal richness in China. Patterns in the distribution of species richness had distinct characteristics for different mammalian orders and were influenced by different environmental factors. The richness distribution of most orders was mainly affected by MTCM and AP. Interactive detection results showed that interacting factors in pairs play much bigger roles in the spatial distribution of species richness than individual factors. The synergistic effect of elevation with AP and MTCM best explained the distribution differences of species richness. We found that the Geodetector model is a valuable tool, hoping to be more widely used in biogeography. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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Article
Local Segregation of Realised Niches in Lizards
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(12), 764; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijgi9120764 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1017
Abstract
Species can occupy different realised niches when sharing the space with other congeneric species or when living in allopatry. Ecological niche models are powerful tools to analyse species niches and their changes over time and space. Analysing how species’ realised niches shift is [...] Read more.
Species can occupy different realised niches when sharing the space with other congeneric species or when living in allopatry. Ecological niche models are powerful tools to analyse species niches and their changes over time and space. Analysing how species’ realised niches shift is paramount in ecology. Here, we examine the ecological realised niche of three species of wall lizards in six study areas: three areas where each species occurs alone; and three areas where they occur together in pairs. We compared the species’ realised niches and how they vary depending on species’ coexistence, by quantifying niche overlap between pairs of species or populations with the R package ecospat. For this, we considered three environmental variables (temperature, humidity, and wind speed) recorded at each lizard re-sighting location. Realised niches were very similar when comparing syntopic species occurring in the same study area. However, realised niches differed when comparing conspecific populations across areas. In each of the three areas of syntopy, the less abundant species shift its realised niche. Our study demonstrates that sympatry may shift species’ realised niche. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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Article
Combining Satellite Remote Sensing and Climate Data in Species Distribution Models to Improve the Conservation of Iberian White Oaks (Quercus L.)
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(12), 735; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijgi9120735 - 08 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2184
Abstract
The Iberian Peninsula hosts a high diversity of oak species, being a hot-spot for the conservation of European White Oaks (Quercus) due to their environmental heterogeneity and its critical role as a phylogeographic refugium. Identifying and ranking the drivers that shape [...] Read more.
The Iberian Peninsula hosts a high diversity of oak species, being a hot-spot for the conservation of European White Oaks (Quercus) due to their environmental heterogeneity and its critical role as a phylogeographic refugium. Identifying and ranking the drivers that shape the distribution of White Oaks in Iberia requires that environmental variables operating at distinct scales are considered. These include climate, but also ecosystem functioning attributes (EFAs) related to energy–matter exchanges that characterize land cover types under various environmental settings, at finer scales. Here, we used satellite-based EFAs and climate variables in species distribution models (SDMs) to assess how variables related to ecosystem functioning improve our understanding of current distributions and the identification of suitable areas for White Oak species in Iberia. We developed consensus ensemble SDMs targeting a set of thirteen oaks, including both narrow endemic and widespread taxa. Models combining EFAs and climate variables obtained a higher performance and predictive ability (true-skill statistic (TSS): 0.88, sensitivity: 99.6, specificity: 96.3), in comparison to the climate-only models (TSS: 0.86, sens.: 96.1, spec.: 90.3) and EFA-only models (TSS: 0.73, sens.: 91.2, spec.: 82.1). Overall, narrow endemic species obtained higher predictive performance using combined models (TSS: 0.96, sens.: 99.6, spec.: 96.3) in comparison to widespread oaks (TSS: 0.80, sens.: 92.6, spec.: 87.7). The Iberian White Oaks show a high dependence on precipitation and the inter-quartile range of Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) (i.e., seasonal water availability) which appears to be the most important EFA variable. Spatial projections of climate–EFA combined models contribute to identify the major diversity hotspots for White Oaks in Iberia, holding higher values of cumulative habitat suitability and species richness. We discuss the implications of these findings for guiding the long-term conservation of Iberian White Oaks and provide spatially explicit geospatial information about each oak species (or set of species) relevant for developing biogeographic conservation frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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Article
GIS-Based Assessment of Habitat Networks for Conservation Planning in Kas-Kekova Protected Area (Turkey)
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(2), 91; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijgi9020091 - 01 Feb 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1314
Abstract
The determination of protected area (PA) boundaries and the level of restrictions is very important for sustainable conservation, and such decisions must involve biodiversity data and assessment. In a PA, the consensus of the government and the locals is crucial to ensure protection–use [...] Read more.
The determination of protected area (PA) boundaries and the level of restrictions is very important for sustainable conservation, and such decisions must involve biodiversity data and assessment. In a PA, the consensus of the government and the locals is crucial to ensure protection–use balance. The PA restrictions constrain legal human activities, and the boundary determination and the restrictions should be based on various scientific analyses to achieve consensus. In this study, a GIS-based approach is proposed to utilize the biodiversity data for efficient conservation and land use planning in Kas-Kekova PA, which is among the most important PAs in Turkey. Spatial analysis methods, i.e., kernel density estimation, natural breaks classification and integrated density index, were performed for the assessment of the habitat networks using georeferenced biodiversity datasets, and the results were evaluated with respect to the actual land use data and the land ownership pattern. The developed spatial analysis approach is efficient to produce the conservation base maps required for regional land use planning, for defining sustainable conservation strategies, and to provide a widely accepted base for land use planning and biodiversity monitoring in the PA; although careful investigations and expert opinions are still required for data deficient areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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Article
Urban Ecological Corridor Network Construction: An Integration of the Least Cost Path Model and the InVEST Model
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(1), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijgi9010033 - 06 Jan 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1527
Abstract
Under the background of urban expansion, ecological protection cannot be delayed. The construction of ecological networks is of considerable significance to ecosystem services. However, in the process of constructing a corridor network, there is no uniform standard for the selection of ecological sources [...] Read more.
Under the background of urban expansion, ecological protection cannot be delayed. The construction of ecological networks is of considerable significance to ecosystem services. However, in the process of constructing a corridor network, there is no uniform standard for the selection of ecological sources and the determination of cost factors. The InVEST model is an effective complement to ecosystem service assessment for sensitively measuring external threats and their threat intensity. Therefore, taking Wuhan as an example, we combined InVEST and the least cost path model (LCP) to construct a multi-target corridor network with comprehensive cost factors for birds and small terrestrial mammals. The results showed that: (1) The InVEST model provided a reliable basis for ecological source screening by demonstrating the distribution of habitat quality. (2) The corridor with a length of 12–25 km presented a “U” shape, and the impact of urbanization on small terrestrial mammals was more significant than that of birds. (3) The integrated network pattern proposed by the “point-line-plane” principle would provide a reference for urban ecological construction and sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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Article
An Improved Mobile Mapping System to Detect Road-Killed Amphibians and Small Birds
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(12), 565; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijgi8120565 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1305
Abstract
Roads represent a major source of mortality for many species. To mitigate road mortality, it is essential to know where collisions with vehicles are happening and which species and populations are most affected. For this, moving platforms such as mobile mapping systems (MMS) [...] Read more.
Roads represent a major source of mortality for many species. To mitigate road mortality, it is essential to know where collisions with vehicles are happening and which species and populations are most affected. For this, moving platforms such as mobile mapping systems (MMS) can be used to automatically detect road-killed animals on the road surface. We recently developed an MMS to detect road-killed amphibians, composed of a scanning system on a trailer. We present here a smaller and improved version of this system (MMS2) for detecting road-killed amphibians and small birds. It is composed of a stereo multi-spectral and high definition camera (ZED), a high-power processing laptop, a global positioning system (GPS) device, a support device, and a lighter charger. The MMS2 can be easily attached to any vehicle and the surveys can be performed by any person with or without sampling skills. To evaluate the system’s effectiveness, we performed several controlled and real surveys in the Évora district (Portugal). In real surveys, the system detected approximately 78% of the amphibians and birds present on surveyed roads (overlooking 22%) and generated approximately 17% of false positives. Our system can improve the implementation of conservation measures, saving time for researchers and transportation planning professionals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of GIS for Biodiversity Research)
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