Niche Modeling and Environmental Filtering of Tropical Dry Forest Tree Species in Costa Rica
Tropical forests are famous for their diversity. Quantifying which environmental factors contribute to structuring this diversity across tropical landscapes is a major goal of tropical ecology. Recent analyses in Panama have suggested that both soil nutrients and potential for drought affect tree species' distributions. This group works in tropical dry forests of Costa Rica, where it is likely that both soil nutrients and water availability contribute to explaining distributional patterns. They have a dataset that contains over 3,800 individual trees from 140 species, in addition to environmental data for each of the 84 plots that these trees were surveyed in. They are using state-of-the art statisical models including Gaussian logistic regression with maximum likelihood estimation. These methods are computationally intensive and require supercomputing facilities. These analyses will allow the researchers to define “edaphic niches” for each of 87 common species.
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