Characterizing biotic interactions within the Order Lagomorpha using Joint Species Distribution Models at 3 different spatial scales

Katie Leach, William Montgomery, Neil Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


Species Distribution Models (SDMs) rarely incorporate biotic interactions, even though the latter may have great impacts on biogeographical patterns, because interactions can be difficult to model in time and space. In addition, the resolution of input data can have dramatic effects on results, with coarser resolutions unlikely to capture climatic variation at small scales, particularly in mountainous regions. Joint SDMs can be used to explore distributions of multiple, coexisting species and characterize modelled biotic interactions; however, the influence of scale on predictions is yet to be tested. We produced Joint SDMs for European lagomorph species at 3 hierarchical resolutions and calculated residual and environmental correlations that could explain why species may or may not co-occur, thereby suggesting biotic interactions. European lagomorph species exhibited similar environmental and biotic responses at all 3 resolutions (50 km, 25 km, and 10 km), with models at finer resolutions producing more precise estimates but requiring considerable computing time. The majority of pairwise residual responses were negative, indicating that European lagomorph species co-occur less than expected given their similarity in environmental responses, and suggesting modelled biotic interactions consistent with those reported in the literature. Fine-scale data and models offer greater precision but are not always necessary for multi-species models. However, caution is advised when inferring biotic interactions using data and models based on a coarser scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2017


  • competition
  • co-occurrence
  • Europe
  • hare
  • MCMC
  • lagomorph
  • probit regression
  • rabbit
  • species interactions


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