Using maximum entropy modeling to predict suitable habitat locations for the Cutshin Crayfish (Cambarus taylori)

Eric Tidmore, Zachary Loughman

Abstract


The Cutshin Crayfish (Cambarus taylori) is a recently described species which is endemic to the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River basin. The Middle Fork of the Kentucky River lies within the anthracite coal fields of Eastern Kentucky, and thus a conservation assessment of C. taylori is warranted. The goal of this study was to predict suitable habitat locations for C. taylori through use of maximum entropy modeling (MaxEnt). The Middle Fork of the Kentucky River’s crayfish fauna was surveyed during the summer of 2014. The occurrence data from this study coupled with landscape scale environmental variables—such as stream order and land use data—was used to create the model. The mean area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) value was 0.898, showing the model had high predictive accuracy. The model indicated high probability of occurrence in streams at the southern end of the basin, and a low probability of occurrence at the northern end of the basin. Stream order and stream sinuosity had the highest contribution to the model showing that C. taylori prefers 3rd and 4th order streams with low sinuosity. Although the AUC value showed high predictive accuracy for the model, predicted sites will need to be ground validated to confirm the model’s predictive accuracy.

Keywords


Crayfish; Maxent

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